Get a free weekly newsletter with recipe!

FDA Approves Weight Loss Drug Belviq For Sale

Ryan | July 2nd, 2012

Warning: Illegal string offset 'default_custom_tag' in /home1/ab11795/public_html/ on line 137

Warning: Illegal string offset 'default_activated_custom_tag' in /home1/ab11795/public_html/ on line 138

Warning: Illegal string offset 'hidden_text' in /home1/ab11795/public_html/ on line 139

After withholding approval for numerous medical weight loss pills due to concerns about dangerous side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally cleared an anti-obesity drug for sale. The pill, an appetite suppressant, is called Belviq, also known as lorcaserin. It is the first weight loss drug in over 10 years approved by the FDA, clearing safety hurdles that proved too difficult for drugs like Acomplia (linked with depression and suicide), Meridia (heart attack and stroke), and HCG diet supplements, which have never been demonstrated to have any influence on weight loss.

Belviq’s safety profile surpasses other medical weight loss pills

Belviq, manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals, was initially submitted to the FDA in 2010, but approval was withheld after some animals developed cancerous tumors after being tested with the drug. Further research data, however, has convinced the FDA of the drug’s safety in regard to humans.

While FDA-rejected medical weight loss pills such as Acomplia have never been available on the U.S. market due to health concerns, many diet products containing pregnancy hormone HCG—sometimes labeled as “homeopathic” remedies— are still illegally available on drug store shelves and on the internet.

The FDA has strenuously warned the public that decades of scientific testing have never discovered any link between HCG and losing weight. Though HCG is approved as a prescription treatment for infertility, it is illegal to sell the drug in over-the-counter products in the U.S. The FDA has required the following message to be printed on the HCG drug label:

“No substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

The FDA stresses that any extreme weight loss experienced on the HCG diet plan is not due to doses of HCG itself, whose effect is equivalent to that of a placebo, but instead to the severe calorie-restricting diet users are encouraged to follow.

“People think that if they’re losing weight, HCG must be working,” explains Elizabeth Miller, director of the FDA’s Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud. “But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction.”

Belviq increases feeling of fullness

As with other medical weight loss pills currently seeking FDA approval, Belviq works by suppressing users’ appetites. The drug influences certain chemical receptors in the brain that control hunger, making users feel fuller, sooner, and so keeping them from overeating.

The FDA panel that voted 18-4 to approve the drug emphasizes that Belviq should not be viewed as a miracle weight loss drug. Clinical pre-market studies have linked Belviq an average weight loss in users of 3 to 3.7% of starting body weight after a year of taking the drug.

Many weight loss specialists are expressing optimism about the potential benefits of Belviq. Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, looks forward to incorporating Belviq into diet and exercise treatment plans.

“We physicians’ at CMWL look forward to having another tool in our tool box to help our obese patients lose and keep off weight,” says Dr. Kaplan. “Belviq/Lorcaserin should be a great addition to our treatment arsenal. ”

With 450 locations, The Center for Medical Weight Loss is one of the largest groups of non-surgical weight loss physicians in the country. They specialize in one-on-one treatment and supervision of patients, designing healthy, sustainable diet plans tailored to each individual’s unique body composition, metabolism, and medical history.

To see if there’s a center near you, use the zip code search box above. Don’t forget to ask about special introductory rates for first-time visitors available at some locations.