Changes to REMS to allow dispensing of Vivus obesity drug in retail

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a modification to a program added to the labeling of an obesity drug to ensure patient safety.

Vivus announced that the FDA had approved changes to the risk evaluation and mitigatin strategy for Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate) extended-release capsules. The amendment to the REMS allows the drug to be dispensed through certified retail pharmacies in addition to the existing network of mail-order pharmacies.

"With FDA approval of the REMS modification, today we begin the process of increasing the availability of Qsymia, simplifying prescribing and dispensing and resolving the challenges associated with the mail-order-only system," Vivus president Peter Tam said. "Our goal over the next three months is to ensure availability of Qsymia in thousands of certified retail pharmacies nationwide. The REMS modification is a key accomplishment in removing a major barrier that has hindered the initial acceptance of Qsymia into everyday medical practice."