FDA Approves First New Weight-Loss Drug in 13 Years

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.

Before you get all excited and call us for a prescription, there are some details you need to know.  First of all, it won’t be rolled out until early 2013.
Belviq (pronounced Bel-VEEK) is only approved for use in:- adults with a BMI of 30 or more,

– 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.

Editor’s note:  even though the effects are small, I expect this medication to become very popular.  Lifestyle adjustments, with old-fashioned diet and exercise, still are the best answer for weight loss.

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