This week, the FDA approved lorcaserin (Belviq) for the treatment of obesity— the first new weight-loss drug to be approved in the U.S. in 13 years.
– adults with a BMI of 27 or more who have at least one weight-related “co-morbid condition” (type 2 diabetes, increased cholesterol, hypertension).
The effects of Belviq are not what most people would call dramatic. In tests, Belviq users lost roughly 3.5% of body weight after 1 year.
The drug works by activating the brain’s serotonin 2C receptor, which may help people feel full after eating smaller amounts. That means we have to use caution in people who take other medications that already raise serotonin levels, like certain antidepressants and migraine medications.
Heart valve abnormalities, a concern with previous antiobesity drugs like phen-fen, did not appear to differ between patients treated with lorcaserin and those on placebo. However, the FDA advises against using this drug in patients with congestive heart failure.