FDA Approves First Diet Pill in 13 Years
Good news for the two-thirds of American adults who struggle with being overweight or obese: For the first time in over a decade, the FDA has approved a new drug that may aid weight loss when combined with diet and exercise.
Belviq, which is generically known as lorcaserin hydrochloride, works by activating areas of the brain that promote feelings of fullness, helping dieters eat less. The FDA has approved the pill for adults who have a BMI of 30 or greater as well as overweight adults who have a BMI of 27 or greater along with a weight-related condition, like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension.
In clinical trials, 47% of participants without type 2 diabetes lost at least 5% of their body weight, while 23% of those who were given a placebo lost at least 5% of their body weight, according to the FDA. In people who had type 2 diabetes, 38% lost at least 5% of their body weight compared to 16% who took a placebo.
The FDA initially rejected lorcaserin due to concerns over whether the drug causes heart complications, but a panel recently deemed the Arena Pharmaceuticals medication safe. Still, Arena will be required to carry out six more long-term trails to evaluate the pill’s cardiovascular risks.
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