Belviq – A New FDA Approved Weight Loss Medication Now AvailablePosted: Jun 13 in Clinical Nutrition Center News by Dr. Lazarus
I am excited to report that Belviq became available in Denver area pharmacies as a new FDA-approved weight loss medication as of Friday, June 7th, 2013. Pharmacies are expected to receive the medication during the week of June 10th – 14th and have it available to patients after that time.
Belviq is a brand new and unique medication. It works by raising seratonin levels in the brain, thus providing a new mechanism for appetite control. It has been in development and in clinical trials for several years, and the FDA has approved it for long-term use (no time limits) for medical weight loss based on 2-year safety studies. In clinical studies, patients treated with Belviq lost an average of about 15 pounds.
Because it affects seratonin levels (a neurotransmitter chemical in the brain involved in appetite regulation), caution is urged (or avoidance) if an individual is on other antidepressant medications, migraine medications, or several other medications. It should not be combined with other weight loss medications (like Phentermine, Tenuate, or Qsymia). For a more complete list, see link below. Also, it is not safe to become pregnant or to breastfeed while taking Belviq.
This is a new mechanism of action. This is not a stimulant type medication (like Phentermine, Tenuate, or Qsymia). Instead it acts to through seratonin (the others act more through norepinepherine, or our stimulant neurochemical). Because Belviq is working through seratonin, for patients who are sensitive to the stimulant effect of the other weight loss medications, it may be an option that doesn’t cause insomnia, etc.
I have received word that wholesale price of Belviq to the pharmacies will be $199 / month, so expect the pharmacy price to be somewhere in the ballpark of $220-250 / month (be sure to call your pharmacy to check on pricing and availability). We have received at the office coupons for a two week free trial, and coupons that will give you $75 off per month for the first year of treatment to lower the out of pocket expense. While I am optimistic that at some point insurance companies will be paying for medical obesity treatments, at the moment it is unlikely that most insurers will cover this treatment.
Belviq should be used only as part of a structured diet and exercise program, and medical supervision is necessary. If you’d like to learn more about Belviq, Qsymia, or other options, please call the office at 303-750-9454 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lazarus or Heather Thomas.