Belviq: New Prescription Weight Loss MedicationPosted: May 08 in Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
Belviq (Lorcaserin) cleared its final regulatory hurdle and has now received approval from the FDA and clearance from the DEA. This means it should be available to Denver weight loss patients in about a month (e.t.a. June, 2013).
So, what’s the fuss?
Late last year, the FDA approved 2 new weight loss medications – Qsymia and Belviq. Qsymia has been available for several months, Belviq has been awaiting clearance by the DEA. It has now received clearance and should be available in about a month.
Belviq works in the brain by increasing serotonin. It is called a selective seratonin agonist. It is a completely new approach to help suppress appetite. We have long known that seratonin plays an important role in weight regulation. For example, most anti-depressant medications that work through seratonin increase appetite. Belviq works on the opposite end of the seratonin system and inhibits appetite.
We all remember not in the too distant past a drug called fenfluramine, which when used with Phentermine produced significant weight loss (Phen-Fen). Fenfluramine also worked by increasing seratonin levels; however, it was non-specific. Because we have seratonin receptors in our heart, Fenfluramine was responsible for heart valve damage and was taken off the market.
Belviq is a selective seratonin agonist that works primarily in the brain, and has been well studied for safety showing that it does not have activity in the heart.
Like other available weight loss drugs (Phentermine, Tenuate, Qsymia), in clinical studies, about half of those treated with Belviq lost 5% or more of their body weight. And, in 2 years of follow-up studies for safety, there was no evidence of heart valve damage in over 1000 patients. Another study showed significantly more weight loss – this study was done in heavier patients with more risk factors. Of those responding to the drug at its highest dose, the average weight loss was 22.6%.
Stay tuned to our blog, newsletter and facebook page – we will let you know the details of Belviq’s release as soon as it is on Denver pharmacy store shelves.