The first new prescription weight loss drug in over a decade has been approved by a federal advisory committee and now faces approval by the FDA. For more information on the new drug, and what this means for you, keep on reading after the jump.

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In a surprise move, a federal advisory committed has voted to approve a new weight loss drug, called Contrave, after months of rejecting other weight loss drugs that have been proposed.

In a 13 to 7 votes, the committee decided that the benefits of the drug outweighs the health risks, something that have not been willing to give the other similar medications that have come before them in recent months. They have already voted against weight loss drugs Qnexa and lorcaserin due to health concerns, and both drugs were also rejected by the FDA.

The drug, Contrave, was tested on 4,500 individuals and it was found that those who took the drug lost 4.5 percentage points more than those who were on the placebo. This falls short of the FDA’s requirement of 5 percentage points, however, the drug did exceed the requirement that those on the drug lost over 5% of their total weight, barely qualifying the drug for approval.

As far as health risks go, studies have show that it may cause elevated pulse and blood pressure, but more tests are needed to determine the exact cardiovascular risks. The committee also approved in an 11 to 8 vote that the trials could be held after approval to allow for proper development of the drug. They site the fact that Contrave is made up of two already approved and tested drugs whose side effects are well documented; buproprion (which is marketed under the name Wellbutrin) is an antidepressant commonly used to aid people to quit smoking and naltextrone, a drug often used to treat drug and alcohol addiction.

If the Contrave weight loss drug is approved by the FDA it will be the first new weight loss pill available by prescription in over a decade, and will be the first drug marketed in the US by the company developing the drug, Orexigen Therapeutics of San Diego.

What do you think of the possibility of the FDA approving a new weight loss drug? Do you think there should be more FDA approved weight loss aids available? Let us know by leaving some comments, and check out some video from the Tyra Banks show about how unhealthy weight loss can affect you.