If the FDA gives its blessing, a drug named Qnexa could become a very big deal. A preliminary review begins next week on the pill, which could become the first diet drug approved in 13 years, reports the New York Times. It's nowhere near a sure thing: Two years ago, the FDA rejected the drug over potential side effects such as heart trouble and birth defects. Maker Vivus has gathered new data it says proves the drug is safe.
Qnexa is a combination of two drugs, phentermine and topiramate, that supposedly curbs appetite. It's already in use, sort of: Obesity doctors in California have been been prescribing those two drugs to thousands of patients so they can take them together to get the intended effect. Now it's up to the FDA to determine whether combining them into one drug is OK. "When you're talking about a drug where it could go into literally tens of millions of Americans, there has to be attention to safety," an FDA official tells NPR. (Read more Qnexa stories.)