Three new weight-loss pills, Qnexa, Lorquess and Contrave are resubmitting their applications for approval recently, after the FDA took a hardline approach.

In October 2010 to January all three companies were sent responses by the FDA regarding efficacy and safety concerns. We look at where the drugs are today.

The obesity pills in question are all linked to an earlier drug – Fen-Phen – that was a combination of fenfluamine and phentermine, that were found to trigger some psychotic side effects among others

Qnexa: Maker Vivus Suggests Avoiding Use on Pregnant Women

The agency told Qnexa makers, Vivus Inc. to review the risk of psychiatric, cardiovascular and in particular birth defects, that may arise from people taking the pill.

Vivus said Friday that they would develop Qnexa with a new strategy that avoids complications in pregnant women, by post-marketing the product as unsuitable for ‘women with child-bearing potential’.

Lorquess: Maker Arena Says Drug More Effective Previously Thought

The developer of Lorquess, meanwhile, has a more direct approach to the problem, specifically that its drug is more efficacious, and less cancerous than the FDA’s review published earlier.

Lorquess maker, Arena, has retested its drug with a group of independent pathologists and found that "Adenocarcinomas were no longer numerically higher than the control group in the lorcaserin low- and mid-dose groups,". ie. their drugs did not cause adenocarcinoma - of the brain - after all.

Arena, the company which makes Lorquess, added further to its claims by showing that it did not penetrate the human brains compared with rats, which their drug was tested in.

On the other hand, it did not say whether its drugs were still efficacious to warrant reapproval of the drug.

Contrave: Maker Orexigen Continues to Dispute FDA Claims

Contrave owner Orexigen, meanwhile, said in June that a further trial to its drug would be unnecessary after the FDA refused to consider its ‘restricted’ population study without additional safety information.

The FDA told Contrave its drug was increased cardiovasular risks. which like Qnexa, needed further study to approve. Since June, the company has not said whether the drug had made further progress other than it was continuing to dispute the claims made to it in January.

The company said such a trial would be "unprecedented and would generate significantly more information than is necessary or feasible."