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article imageFDA approves first new weight-loss pill in 13 years

By Lesley Lanir     Jun 28, 2012 in Health
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the drug Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride), in addition to calorie control and exercise, for helping weight reduction in some overweight adults.
In a news release the FDA has announced its approval of the weight loss pill Belviq to treat some overweight or obese adults as an addition to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise. The research results show that in comparison with a placebo, after one year’s treatment with Belviq over a 3% weight loss can occur.
According to the news release, the drug may be prescribed to adults “with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obese), or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) and who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia).”
Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research says that the drug provides an option for treatment of overweight and obese adults with comorbid health issues if used responsibly in combination with a healthy lifestyle and diet.
The drug Belviq works by activating the serotonin 2C receptor in the brain which is thought to reduce a person’s desire to over eat.
Other weight loss drugs have been marketed in the past. In 1997, the weight-loss drugs fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were withdrawn from the market after it was found that that they caused heart valve damage.
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In January 2010, The FDA also announced the increased risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease using sibutramine, marketed as the weight loss medication Meridia.
Although after trials the drug is now approved, The FDA state that Belviq should not be used during pregnancy and it can cause serious side effects including serotonin syndrome and disturbances in attention or memory.
According to statistics published in February 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among adults aged 20 years and over, 35.5% of men and 35.8% of women suffer from obesity.
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