Biotech company VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS ) has struggled to pick up sales of its obesity medication Qsymia since the drug was launched in September. Last quarter, the company reported a mere $4.1 million in total revenue, and its massive selling, general, and administrative costs weighed heavily on its bottom line. In an effort to encourage both physician and patient adoption, VIVUS has not only established two free trial programs, but has also launched the "Q and Me" mobile app, whose aim is to help patients comply with their prescribed weight loss treatment, track food intake, and set exercise goals.
While Qsymia was the first obesity medication to hit the market in more than a decade, VIVUS' app wasn't the first to help patients manage their weight. Recently, Motley Fool health-care analyst Max Macaluso spoke with Dr. Domenica Rubino, a weight-management expert and representative of The Obesity Society. In the following video, Dr. Rubino discusses technologies that can be used to help track and manage weight loss. A transcript follows the video.
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Max Macaluso: Hi, welcome to The Motley Fool. I'm Max Macaluso, and I'm talking with Dr. Domenica Rubino, a representative of the Obesity Society and a practicing physician in weight management. Welcome.
Domenica Rubino: Thank you.
Macaluso: We spoke in a previous segment about how drugs can help obese patients lose weight, and exercise and diet are also very important in that process. What are some technologies that can help people also manage their weight?
Rubino: Max, actually there are quite a few technologies that can be very helpful. First of all, there are a lot of apps now that are available. Most people carry a smartphone.
Fundamentally, what's important about these technologies is to remain mindful about what you're doing -- to record what you're eating, record your exercise, to really help you stay focused and structured.
Macaluso: Tracking your progress.
Rubino: Absolutely. You can track your progress in terms of weight.
These apps can do that. You can record your food intake, record your exercise, and also track your progress in terms of your weight loss. That can be very helpful.
In addition to apps, a very simple thing is a pedometer that people wear on their waistband or in their chest pocket. What it does is measure your strides every day, and your steps every day. It can tell you how many calories.
Research has shown that even if you're not looking at the pedometer, just being conscious of the fact that you've got this on makes a person internally competitive, and they start moving more, so that can be very reinforcing for movement.
There are also some other devices that are a little bit more sophisticated than pedometers now, where they can measure your activity. They can give you feedback on how much you sleep or don't sleep, so you can start working with that behavior.
It can also help you record your food through an interaction with your computer. Again, you can do that same thing, which is keep records of what you're eating, figure out the calories, and really help you stay on track and watch your progress.
The other thing is there are online tools available, many of which are free, that can do the same thing -- tracking progress, exercise, and also your calorie intake. A lot of them are all connected, so you know how many calories and exactly what you're doing. It can help you plan.
The last one is plain old pen and paper. You don't need anything too sophisticated. It's probably in your bag or your pocket.
The key point is staying focused, being mindful of what you eat, and being aware that you need to be active and reinforcing that.
Macaluso: Excellent. Thank you very much for your insight. Thanks for watching, and tune in again at Fool.com.