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You should always consult with your healthcare provider before
introducing any changes to your diet or level of physical activity.

Living Well : Nutrition

Food Safety

When you prepare your own meals with fresh ingredients, you're on your way to meaningful weight loss—so make sure you practice "safe food handling"

KNOW THE 4 RULES OF SAFE FOOD PREPARATION

You may have begun eating more fresh foods since you started this program. In this library article we’ll talk about how to handle and store the foods you eat to optimize your safety.

KEEP IT CLEAN

First, always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. You should wash your hands before and after you handle food. If you handle raw meat, seafood, or poultry wash your hands again before you touch other foods.

Anything that touches food should be clean. Dishes, cutting boards, and utensils should be washed in hot, soapy water. Keep your countertops clean as well. Wash them with hot, soapy water before and after you make food. Dishcloths and kitchen towels should be washed and dried often. Use the hot water cycle in the washing machine. Kitchen sponges can be cleaned in the microwave. Two minutes will kill most bacteria. The sponge should be wet before you put it in the microwave.

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be rinsed under running water. Do this even for those that have rinds you will not eat, like melons. Use a scrub brush or rub with your hands as you rinse. Foods marked “washed” or “ready to eat” usually do not need rinsing.

Raw meat, seafood, and poultry should be kept away from other foods. If you cut raw meat, poultry, or seafood, make sure it has its own cutting board. Do not cut bread or vegetables on a cutting board that has been used for meat, poultry, or seafood, unless the board has been carefully washed.

When you shop, keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your cart. All foods should be kept separate from cleaners and other chemicals. Meat, poultry, and seafood should be stored separately in containers or on plates. This keeps the juices from dripping onto other foods. If food that will not be cooked touches raw meat, poultry, or seafood, it should be thrown away.

KEEP IT COOL

Another key way that can help keep your food safe is to store it at the right temperature. Your refrigerator should always keep the foods inside at or below 40°F. The bacteria that cause illness grow faster at warm temperatures. Keeping your refrigerator at 40°F or lower helps keep you safe.

Here are a few more tips for keeping food at a safe temperature:

  • Leftovers and perishables should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours. Food that has sat out longer should be thrown away
  • Food should never be defrosted on the counter. If you have time, thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry, you can thaw food in cold water. Or you can defrost it in the microwave if you plan to eat it right away
  • Split leftovers into smaller packages. This helps them cool down more quickly. If you freeze them, it also lets you just defrost what you need. This can be good for portion control as well!
  • Don’t buy meat or pre-cut vegetables if they are not kept cool at the store
  • Don’t overfill the refrigerator. Cold air needs to be able to get around. If the refrigerator is too full, some places might not be as cold

KEEP IT FRESH

When you buy fruits and vegetables, check to make sure they are not bruised or damaged. If you buy packaged fruits or vegetables, such as fruit salad, make sure they are kept refrigerated at the store.

Know when to throw food away. Leftovers should be thrown away or frozen within 3 to 4 days. Raw foods are more variable.

  • Poultry or ground meat should be frozen or discarded within 1 to 2 days
  • Red meats last 3 to 5 days, as do deli meats and salads

For a more complete list, visit FoodSafety.gov.

COOK IT THROUGH

When you cook, make sure your food is cooked all the way through. You can use a food thermometer. The thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food. It should not touch bone, fat, or gristle.

  • Steaks, roasts, pork and fish should be heated to 145°F
  • Egg dishes and ground beef should be heated to 160°F
  • Poultry should be cooked to 165°F
  • Leftovers and casseroles should also be cooked to 165°F

If you reheat soup or sauces, bring them to a boil. When you cook in the microwave, be sure to rotate the dish and stir the food. This helps get rid of cold spots where bacteria can thrive.

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INDICATION

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

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

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. Women who are pregnant must not take Qsymia. Women who can become pregnant should have a negative 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.

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.

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.

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, Inc. 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.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

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.

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