Arena Pharmaceutical’s weight loss treatment Locaserin gained FDA approval for use in treating obesity. Arena will be manufacturing the drug at their facilities in Switzerland and will be marketing the product under the trade name Belviq.
The FDA’s decision has made news across the world as Locaserin is the only weight loss treatment to gain FDA approval in over a decade and the size of the potential market for the treatment means that Arena stand to make a significant amount of profit. In trials that were conducted for over a year Belviq produced an average reduction in body weight of 3.7%.
Belviq is an appetite suppressant which uses the brain’s serotonin 2C receptors to control the urge to eat. It is approved for use as a treatment for obese patients who meet certain criteria but the FDA approval requires the drug to be used alongside a weight loss and exercise program.
Janet Woodcock, Director at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research is of the firm opinion that obesity is “a major public health concern,” and she believes that Belviq gives another important treatment option for obese patients if it is taken “responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle.”
There are many well established regimes which can be followed to both lose weight and exercise. The Dukan Diet is one of the most popular but anyone taking Belviq will of course need to heed the guidance given by their own doctor when working out which plan to follow.
The FDA approval is limited to use in those patients who have a Body Mass Index(BMI) in excess of 30 or a BMI greater than 27 if they are suffering with another serious health complication such as increased cholesterol levels, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Like almost every prescription drug taking Belviq may result in unwanted side effects some of which are more serious than other. Due to the fact that Belviq triggers the serotonin receptors those taking medications which also effect serotonin need to be careful as high levels of serotonin can result in serotonin syndrome a condition which can be deadly if not recognised and dealt with. Drugs which influence serotonin are often prescribed to treat migraines and depressive disorders.
Taking Belviq can also make you giddy and feel queasy, it can make you tired or constipated and it can make it difficult to concentrate and remember things. Diabetics need to watch their blood sugar levels with vigilance as it can lead to low blood sugar levels. They may also suffer with backache.