A new and much-anticipated diet pill has been given U.S. approval.
A new pill, Contrave, was given approval Wednesday. It's the third obesity treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration in more than a decade.
Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. made the pill, which is a combination of the antidepressant bupropion and a formula designed to prevent drug dependence.
It was not immediately clear when the pill would become available or how much it would cost, but the move marks a milestone in the world of diet pills.
In June, the FDA postponed their approval of the pill due to concerns over warnings posted on the package, particularly surrounding the use of an antidepressant. Because of this, the warnings will include an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
With only two other FDA-approved diet pills like Contrave, including Qsymia and Belviq, which were approved in 2012, Reuters reported that at least one analyst predicts the new pill will exceed the sales of its two-year-old rivals.
Contrave sales are expected to hit around $200 million in 2016, roughly $20 million higher than that of Qsymia and $50 million higher than Belviq. However, the drug could face challenges its competitors have previously faced, including health insurers reluctance to cover and concerns over side effects.
Reimbursements will continue to pose a hurdle as long as insurers remain unconvinced of their necessity. But some experts believe the potential to improve cardiovascular health could make a major impact.
"If these obesity cardiovascular outcomes trials do show that they reduce heart attacks, or hospitalizations, then... the market would be reignited," Daniel Lang, a trained cardiologist, told Retuers.