FDA panel endorses another weight loss drugPosted: May 12 in Medical Weight Loss News by Dr. Lazarus
Shortly after recommending approval of Qnexa (Phentermine / Topiramate), the FDA advisory panel this week also voted to approve Arena Pharmaceuticals weight loss drug, Lorgess (Lorcacerin). This medication has been in clinical trials over the past several years and works through the 5HT2c sub-type Seratonin receptor in the brain.
Why is this important? What is 5HT2c? Well, Lorgess is a seratonin agonist – that means it triggers the release of seratonin. Sound familiar? The big hit weight loss drug of the 90’s, Fenfluramine worked as a seratonin agonist as well. That was when it was discovered that we had seratonin receptors in lots of places, not just our brains. In fact, we have a seratonin receptor in heart valves. That’s why Fenfluramine caused heart valve damage.
Fast forward to 2012. We now have the technology to target specific seratonin receptors. By targeting the 5HT2c receptor, Arena Pharmaceuticals has been able to develop a medication that targets only the brain, with little to no activity in the heart. They have done careful safety studies, and have proven that their new obesity drug is both safe and effective.
The FDA panel is scheduled to vote on Qnexa on July 17th, and on Lorgess on June 27th, but they are under no obligations to follow their advisory panel’s advice.
So, will 2012 be the first year in 13 years that we get a new obesity treatment? Stay tuned…