The FDA recently approved the first weight-loss drug, Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride), in 13 years.  Arena Pharmaceuticals of San Diego developed the pill to help people lose 3-4% of their body weight when coupled with exercise and a healthy diet.  The FDA approved the pill for obese people (BMI over 30) and some overweight people (BMI over 27) who suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Potential weight-loss drugs face increased scrutiny tod
ay by the FDA for efficacy and safety as many recent ones (fenfluramine, for example) have been recalled due to heart-valve complications.  In March, the FDA’s advisory committee introduced mandatory tests for cardiovascular risks for all obesity drugs, which makes the current clinical trials even longer.

In 2010, Arena applied for approval of the drug. The FDA denied approval because it was deemed responsible for causing tumors in rats and because it could not definitively rule out an increase in heart-valve defects.  The pharmaceutical company conducted echocardiograms for 8,000 patients to determine heart-valve function.  This trial could not verify an increase in heart-valve defects in the users of the drug, convincing the FDA to approve it.  The company committed to perform six post-marketing studies with a long-term cardiovascular trial that will search for heart attack and stroke risks.

The drug works to suppress food cravings by mimicking the effects of serotonin in the brain.  Along with many other vital functions, the neurotransmitter serotonin plays a role in controlling appetite.  Within the brain, neurons pass messages back and forth using chemical messengers (neurotransmitters).  The messages may involve information concerning emotions, body temperature, behavior and appetite.  The specific kind of information delivered varies with which neurons become activated and where the brain becomes stimulated.  The neurotransmitter leaves the neuron and enters the synapse (the space between the two “communicating” neurons).  The neurotransmitter links with the receptor on the other neuron, which sends the message.  This can then be repeated through a process called reuptake.  Serotonin qualifies as a neurotransmitter.  The drug Belviq mimics serotonin by activating the 2C receptor, which increases the amount of serotonin to carry messages and increases the probability that the message is received.  Thus, the drug causes people to eat less and feel full.

Non-diabetic patients reported headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth and constipation as side effects.  Other side effects include serotonin syndrome especially in combination with depression or headache medication that increase serotonin levels or that activate serotonin receptors.  The drug may also affect attention or memory.  In diabetics, side effects include low blood sugar, pain, cough and fatigue.

On average, a 198-pound patient taking Belviq will lose six to seven pounds in a year.  20% of patients lose at least 10% of their body weight.  Comparatively, 47% of patients without type 2 diabetes taking the drug and 23% of those taking a placebo each lost at least 5% of their total body weight.  38% of patients with type 2 diabetes taking the drug and 16% of those taking a placebo each lost at least 5% of their total body weight.  Type 2 diabetics who toke Belviq proved to be twice as likely to regulate their blood sugars compared to those who toke the placebo.

While it may help those suffering from diabetes, it may cause heart complications.  The company advises patients with congestive heart failure or pregnant patients to not take the drug.  CNN’s Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist and diet and fitness expert, calls the results modest and says, “But most experts agree that even a 5% weight loss has significant implications in terms of reducing the risk of obesity associated diseases including heart disease and diabetes.”

The drug may be risky, but risks also come with the rising obesity rate such as diabetes and heart disease.  With more than 1/3 of the adult population being obese, the drug may prove worthwhile.

Sources

Nature

CNN

 

 

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Comments

I think the reason that results are short term is because the weight issue in the United States is far more complex. There are many forces working against any kind of healthy weight maintenance and nutrition. Most of these forces are commercial in nature and envelop the society as a whole. From a psychological problem solving standpoint, the cultivation of nutritional education as well as self awareness and body awareness should be the first steps toward maintaining a healthy weight.

Wow thats great news for those who can't work hard or can't do diet. But please do not use it for long time.

There are tons of ways to lose weight! Though people tend to be very sloppy and lazy thats why they want fast acting pill that will cause irrelevant reaction towards their body! I suggest the natural method way DIET and EXERCISE!

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A weight loss drug can have some side effects as well. It should be the last option you choose for weight loss. As prevention is better than cure, so everyone should do work-outs and have balanced diet to avoid it. But if you are already in the trap....go ahead for the weight loss pills.

I think that the best weight loss drug that they can make would be one that gives you the will to get up in the morning with a positive attitude then feed your mind with good thoughts on how to eat proper and healthy food (while slowly diminishing the calorie intake) then to give you enough energy to go to the gym or whatever fun and sport like activity you like to do to lose weight. A drug to help you lose weight doesn't sound too healthy or ethical to me.

We all know that taking weight-loss pills alone is not the way to go if we want to lose weight effectively. We must take it along with diet and exercise to be able to successfully achieve our weight loss goals. If the weight-loss pills are made with 100% natural ingredients, then it should be safe to use and not bring us any harmful side effects. EDITOR'S COMMENT; Remember, natural is not always safe. Hemlock, Arsenic, etc are naturally found substances!!!

The percentage weight loss looks reasonable. Are there any side effects for long-term use?

I am curious what drug could this be? I am wanting to try weightloss pill yet afraid about the side effect and harmful result to my body.

Weight loss can be frustrating for most people who have tried various weight loss programs, but are unsuccessful in reducing those extra kilos. Weight loss programs typically include several methods of exercise, diet plans and support consultants, and hypnosis is a method that is gaining ground as another tool in weight loss

It's has become way to easy to prescribe a pill. With a pill come a mile long list of side effects. Why not just eat the foods that will help you lose the weight. Combine that with some moderate exercise and the only side effects are feeling good about yourself. Rita<a href="http://www.burningmyfatfast.com" rel="nofollow">

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