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FDA approves “Belviq,” weight loss drug for obese and overweight people

Posted Jul 02 2012 6:20pm

Has your hefty weight always been your problem? Now, it won’t be for much longer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved Belviq (generic name: Lorcaserin hydrochloride) for long-term weight loss management.

The approval of Belviq is considered a medical breakthrough, ending the 13-year slump of disapproving and withdrawing weight loss drugs in the market. In 1997, the FDA withdrew fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine from the market because they resulted in heart valve problems.

Promisingly, Belviq does not show that kind of problem. The drug is recommended by the FDA for people with body mass indices of 27% (overweight) to 30% and above (obese.) After all, “Obesity…is a major public health concern,” according to Janet Woodcock of the FDA.


How Belviq works

In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, results showed that 35.7% of Americans or more than 1/3 of the population are obese. Medical conditions that arise from obesity include stroke, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Unfortunately, these conditions are some of the top causes of death in the United States.

Belviq targets the serotonin 2C receptor located in the brain. By doing so, Belviq makes the person feel fuller and satiated after eating a small amount of food. The recommended dosage is 10 milligrams twice daily.

Belviq was created by the Arena Pharmaceuticals of San Diego and Eisai Company in Japan. Studies have shown that Belviq (in conjunction with a low-fat diet and exercise,) has helped participants lose an average of 3% to 3.7% of their respective weights. Most surprisingly though is that four out of ten patients lost 5% of their weight.

Apart from great weight loss results, study participants who have diabetes mellitus showed decrease in glucose levels after taking Belviq.



The common side effects of Belviq include dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue, constipation, and dry mouth. For diabetic patients, additional effects include fatigue, cough, back pain, and low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia.)

Just like other drugs, Belviq should be taken with care by people with heart problems. Pregnant women should also avoid taking this drug. Memory and attention disturbances are also expected after taking Belviq.

Patients taking drugs for migraine and depression should not take Belviq, as the aforementioned drugs increase levels of serotonin and stimulate receptors of serotonin. Taking these drugs together can result in Serotonin Syndrome, a life-threatening condition which has somatic, autonomic, and cognitive effects.

Those who did not lose at least 5% of their current weight after 3 months of taking Belviq should discontinue using it, as the wanted effects might not take place.

Even if the FDA has approved the drug, Arena and Eisai pledges to conduct six trials of the drug, with focus on heart and brain attacks.


For best results

As with other weight loss pills (approved or unapproved), FDA couldn’t stress it enough that it will work better WITH a healthy diet and exercise.  So if you’re planning on taking Belviq, eat a nutritious diet and perform exercises at least weekly for best results

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