1959: Phentermine is approved by FDA for weight loss.
1979: Topiramate is discovered.
1988-1993: Dr. Micheal Weintraub releases studies showing that a combination of two appetite suppressants, fenfluramine and phentermine produce more and faster weight loss than either drug does alone. The "Fen-Phen" era is born.
1993-1996: Fen-Phen becomes the most popular weight loss drug cocktail in history.
1995-1996: Phase three pre-marketing clinical trials with Topamax clearly demonstrate that the drug causes weight loss as a side effect.
December 1996: Topamax approved by FDA as new anti-seizure medication.
1997: Topamax Launch: the drug becomes available to patients and pharmacies
1997: Spring: Alarming reports from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota suggest that fen-phen may cause heart damage.
1997: September 15: Fenfluramine and Redux are voluntarily withdrawn from US, Latina American and European markets after a study released days earlier suggests that as many as 33% of people taking Fen-Phen may suffer heart valve damage. The Fen-Phen era is OVER.
1997: Weight loss doctors begin searching for an alternative to fenfluramine. By late 1997, the combination of phentermine and Prozac (Phen-Pro) is being advertised as a new and safer alternative to Fen-Phen.
1997: A few doctors, myself included, begin using Topamax and phentermine in some patients. The initial results are promising but for some patients, the side effects of Topamax are unpleasant.
1997-1999: Myself and a handful of doctors around the country continue using phentermine and topiramate in selected patients.
1999: Dr. Thomas Najarian in Los Ojos California applies for and receives a patent for a "special" combination of phentermine and Topiramate.
1999-2002: Dr. Najarian convinces a tiny pharmaceutical company called Vivus to purchase the patent and pursue development of a new weight loss drug combination using phentermine and topiramate. This project ultimately becomes "Qnexa"
1999-Present: Physicians like myself continue to use phentermine and topiramate in patients with good results.
2012: February: An advisory panel to FDA strongly recommends approval of Qnexa as a new weight loss drug. The full FDA is set to vote in April.
2012: April: The FDA announces that it will delay its decision about Qnexa until July 17, 2012. Nearly everyone including myself expect the agency to approve the drug combination.