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Living Well : Support and Motivation

Information to Share With Your Friends and Family

Friends and family have your best interests at heart—but they may not know exactly what to say or do. Here's how to help them help you

Talking about Qsymia® (phentermine and topiramate extended-release) capsules CIV and Q and Me®

Your friends and family members may have many questions about Qsymia—or they may want to know about Q and Me. If people see you losing weight and keeping it off, many will be curious about how you are doing it!

Sometimes, it can be hard to know what to say when people ask you about your weight loss. For example, Debra preferred not to talk about her weight loss. When her friends and family asked her how she did it, she had a simple answer: she told them that her healthcare provider was helping her to improve her diet and be more active.

Remember, it’s up to you whether you want to share the changes you’ve been making! Do whatever feels most comfortable for you.

How friends and family can help you lose weight

Friends and family members can be a great resource as you lose weight. But getting them on board may take a special effort on everyone’s part. Communication is the first step. It is important to let your loved ones know how you feel and how they can help. This may be difficult—people may not have always been kind about your weight and may not have encouraged your past efforts to lose weight. Still, it’s important that you communicate and express how you feel.

Help loved ones help you

It’s no different with your friends and family. You may not know how they feel, but when they do express their feelings, you may be relieved to have the cards on the table. This lets everyone talk about how to work together.

There are things your friends and family can do if they wish to support your weight loss. There are also things they should avoid. You may want to review these things with your friends and family.

Things to do:

  • Keep a positive attitude. This may sound silly, but it can be very important. It’s not easy to stay upbeat and encouraging when a program goes on for months. Extra effort from family can make life much easier
  • Talk with others in your situation. Weight issues can lead to strong feelings in a family. Talking to others with the same issues can help
  • Keep the home and family relaxed. This will help the person focus on the task at hand, which is to change bad habits
  • Forgive setbacks. Mistakes, weight gain, and binges can happen. Remember that the person trying to lose weight feels bad about this, too. Be supportive
  • Ask how you can help. The best way to learn how is to ask. You may be surprised by what the individual wants
  • Be physically active with the person trying to lose weight. This is a wonderful and healthy way to spend time together. Even if you only take walks together, this lets you help the person with his or her weight-loss efforts
  • Develop new interests together. This can be good for everybody. Losing weight can feel like starting a new life; new activities can involve you in this process

Things to avoid:

  • Do not hide food. This leads to hurt and resentment
  • Do not threaten. Behavior is best changed with a soft touch
  • Do not avoid social situations because of the person’s weight. This will hurt the person’s self-esteem and may lead to resentment
  • Do not expect a full recovery right away. Weight problems are something a person learns to manage, not cure. There will be setbacks. Appreciate achievements and meet setbacks with compassion
  • Do not lecture or scold. It rarely helps. The person needs to feel better, not worse
  • Do not play martyr. Overweight has many causes, some are physical, others emotional. Blame does not help. Support does

Choose a dedicated partner

Sometimes a close family member or very good friend may look for more ways to help. If you’d like more help from them, here are some suggestions for what they can do. Each of you should read this section, then talk about it together and find concrete ways for your partner to help. Also, find ways you can help your partner. Here are some ways your partner can help:

  • Model good habits. A partner can help you a great deal by doing what you would like to do. Eating slowly is a good example. A partner can take part in physical activity with you or can help by just showing a positive attitude. This will remind you to do the same thing. It also shows you that your partner wants to help
  • Praise your efforts. A few kind words go a long way. Your partner should not wait for you to lose weight to offer a little praise—he or she can point out the healthy changes you make as you make them. A partner who waits for your weight to change may miss small, but important, chances to show support
  • Give practical support. A partner can watch your children while you go for a walk. Sometimes, a partner may help you shop for food or bring you a healthy take-out meal
  • Help with the weigh-in. Not everyone will want a partner to know his or her weight. But, if the relationship can handle this, having a partner be there at weigh-in can help. This lets your partner see how you are doing—but, do warn your partner that you might not lose weight every week, and that’s OK

If you decide to work closely with a weight-loss partner, remember:

  • Be kind to your partner. Find ways to thank your partner for his or her help. This rewards your partner for helping and it may lead your partner to want to help more. It can make you feel good, too
  • Be candid when you ask your partner for support. Be clear about your needs. This goes both ways: your partner should tell you specific ways you can show your appreciation. A specific request might be something like, “I would like you to go to the movies with me once each week.”

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Qsymia® should be used together with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:

  • 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or
  • 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol

Limitations of Use:

  • It is not known if Qsymia changes your risk of heart problems or stroke or of death due to heart problems or stroke
  • It is not known if Qsymia is safe and effective when taken with other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal weight loss products

It is not known if Qsymia is safe and effective in children under 18 years old


Do not take Qsymia if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during Qsymia treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in Qsymia. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Qsymia.

Qsymia can cause serious side effects, including:

Birth defects (cleft lip/cleft palate). If you take Qsymia during pregnancy, your baby has a higher risk for birth defects called cleft lip and cleft palate. These defects can begin early in pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant. Patients who are pregnant must not take Qsymia. Patients who can become pregnant should have a pregnancy test before taking Qsymia and every month while taking Qsymia and use effective birth control (contraception) consistently while taking Qsymia. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to prevent pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking Qsymia, stop taking Qsymia immediately, and tell your healthcare provider right away. Healthcare providers and patients should report all cases of pregnancy to FDA MedWatch at 1-800-FDA-1088, and the Qsymia Pregnancy Surveillance Program at 1-888-998-4887.

Increases in heart rate. Qsymia can increase your heart rate at rest. Your healthcare provider should check your heart rate while you take Qsymia. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience, while at rest, a racing or pounding feeling in your chest lasting several minutes when taking Qsymia.

Suicidal thoughts or actions. Topiramate, an ingredient in Qsymia, may cause you to have suicidal thoughts or actions. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you: thoughts about suicide or dying; attempts to commit suicide; new or worse depression; new or worse anxiety; feeling agitated or restless; panic attacks; trouble sleeping (insomnia); new or worse irritability; acting aggressive, being angry, or violent; acting on dangerous impulses; an extreme increase in activity or talking (mania); other unusual changes in behavior or mood.

Serious eye problems, which include any sudden decrease in vision, with or without eye pain and redness or a blockage of fluid in the eye causing increased pressure in the eye (secondary angle closure glaucoma). These problems can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new eye symptoms.

Common side effects of Qsymia include:

Numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or face (paraesthesia); dizziness; changes in the way foods taste or loss of taste (dysgeusia); trouble sleeping (insomnia); constipation; and dry mouth.

Possible side effects of Qsymia include:

Mood changes and trouble sleeping. Qsymia may cause depression or mood problems, and trouble sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if symptoms occur..

Concentration, memory, and speech difficulties. Qsymia may affect how you think and cause confusion, problems with concentration, attention, memory or speech. Tell your healthcare provider if symptoms occur.

Increases of acid in bloodstream (metabolic acidosis). If left untreated, metabolic acidosis can cause brittle or soft bones (osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteopenia), kidney stones, can slow the rate of growth in children, and may possibly harm your baby if you are pregnant. Metabolic acidosis can happen with or without symptoms. Sometimes people with metabolic acidosis will: feel tired, not feel hungry (loss of appetite), feel changes in heartbeat, or have trouble thinking clearly. Your healthcare provider should do a blood test to measure the level of acid in your blood before and during your treatment with Qsymia.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who also take medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Weight loss can cause low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who also take medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (such as insulin or sulfonylureas). You should check your blood sugar before you start taking Qsymia and while you take Qsymia.

High blood pressure medicines. If you are taking medicines for your blood pressure, your doctor may need to adjust these medicines while taking Qsymia.

Central Nervous System (CNS) side effects. The use of prescription sleep aids, anxiety medicines, or drinking alcohol with Qsymia may cause an increase in CNS symptoms such as dizziness and light-headedness. Do not drink alcohol with Qsymia.

Possible seizures if you stop taking Qsymia too fast. Seizures may happen in people who may or may not have had seizures in the past if you stop Qsymia too fast. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to stop taking Qsymia slowly.

Kidney stones. Drink plenty of fluids when taking Qsymia to help decrease your chances of getting kidney stones. If you get severe side or back pain, and/or blood in your urine, call your healthcare provider.

Decreased sweating and increased body temperature (fever). People should be watched for signs of decreased sweating and fever, especially in hot temperatures. Some people may need to be hospitalized for this condition.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of Qsymia. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to VIVUS LLC at 1-888-998-4887 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Please read the Qsymia Medication Guide and Full Prescribing Information.

The Q and Me Patient Resources and Education site is based on the LEARN® Program provided under copyright license (September 15, 2010). All rights reserved.


Do not take Qsymia if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during Qsymia treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in Qsymia. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Qsymia.