The prescription weight loss drug officially named Lorcaserin that is FDA approved.
Belviq is new prescription drug that has been approved by the FDA under the name Lorcaserin. This weight loss drug is manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and received approval in June of 2012. Although Lorcaserin is the official drug name, it will be sold to consumers under the name Belviq. This is the first time a weight loss drug has been approved by the FDA since 1999 when Alli was approved. Belviq will require a prescription from a doctor and is designed to be used with a low-calorie diet and exercise program. Some of the symptoms that may lead a doctor to prescribe Belviq are being an adult with a BMI greater than 30. Those with a BMI above 27 along with at least one co-morbid condition like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol would also be eligible.
Lorcaserin, which will be sold as Belviq, works as a selective 2C receptor agonist. This receptor works on the areas of the brain associated with appetite control and metabolism. Stimulating the 2C receptor has been connected with reducing feelings of hunger and increasing satiety. A large scale case study was performed using Lorcaserin, in which participants lost five percent of their body weight compared to those in the study that took the placebo. The patients taking Lorcaserin also saw improvements in their cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and insulin resistance. All clinical trials lasted for at least one year and some participants took Belviq for two years.
Three trials were conducted, two without patients who had diabetes and one with patients with diabetes. All patients received one-on-one counseling about a reduced calorie diet and exercise at first dose of medication and every four weeks after. At one year, 47.1% of patients had lost greater than or equal to five percent of their body weight in the Belviq group and 22.4% of patients had lost greater than 10% of their body weight. While in the placebo group which is those who did not receive the study drug, 22.6 % had lost greater than or equal to 5% of their body weight and 8.7% had lost 10 or greater percent of their weight.
As part of the FDA approval, Belviq (Lorcaserin) will have to undergo six post-market studies to monitor the drug's effects on heart health.
- May help those who are obese or very overweight gain control over their health
- Prescription only
- Produces minimal side effects in comparison to other medically-prescribed weigh loss drugs
- Recommends following a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen
- Long-term health effects are still unknown after FDA-approval
- Does not address real issues of overeating
- Can be mistakenly used as a quick fix for weight loss
- Very modest weight loss in comparison to other prescription weight loss pills and diet and exercise alone
- May affect memory and attention levels
- Patients may experience withdrawal-like side effects when medication is stopped
- Lorcaserin was previously rejected due to a cancer signal being detected
Dr. Sarah G. Khan, contributing pharmacist for DietsInReview.com
- Belviq (lorcaserin) should NOT be taken in pregnancy.
- Patients should discontinue if they do not lose 5% of the body weight in the first twelve weeks of use. Duration of therapy and whether it should be weeks or 1 to 2 years has not been determined.
- Use caution with other drugs that effect serotonin levels such as antidepressants (Paxil, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor etc.). There is a risk of Serotonin Syndrome, which is a rare condition that can lead to seizures. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include increased heart rate, fluctuating blood pressure, lack of coordination, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If someone seems to have altered mental status they need to stop taking Belviq immediately.
- Male patients may also experience priapism, which is an erection lasting longer than 6 hours. If patient experiences an erection longer than 4 hours they should discontinue Belviq and go to the emergency room.
- Belviq increased prolactin levels which could lead to breast development in males or lactation in females. If you begin to experience these effects your prolactin levels should be monitored.
- Belviq can also have an effect on white and red blood cell count. Bloodwork may be necessary.
- If patients develop any valvular heart disease they should discontinue use. This was seen in another serotonin receptor medication that activated the 2B receptor, Belviq activates the 2C receptor.
- Belviq may cause memory and attention problems so caution should be used when operating a vehicle or machinery.
- When used along with diabetes medications, patients may experience low blood sugar. More frequent monitoring of blood sugar may be appropriate and patients should carry a small carbohydrate snack at all times to avoid this.
- It is also not advised that patients take other weight loss products along with Belviq as we do not know how they will react together.
- Safety has not been established in patients under 18 years old.
Patients taking Belviq will be advised to use the pill along with a healthy, reduced-calorie diet.
The dosage for the drug is 10 mg twice per day and can be administered with or without food. Make sure to store it in an area that is room temperature and can avoid heat or moisture (avoid medicine cabinets in the bathroom).EXERCISE
For best results while taking Belviq, patients should follow a regular fitness regimen.CONCLUSION
As one of three prescription weight loss pills that have been undergoing FDA trials and review in 2010, Lorcaserin (Belviq) works to suppress the appetite by increasing the amount of the feel-good hormone serotonin, in the brain. This medication does currently boast the fewest number of side effects when compared to other prescription pills. However, the overall results are not groundbreaking.Common Misspellings
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