Belviq: New Prescription Weight Loss Medication

Posted: May 08 in Weight Management Strategies by

Belviq:  New Prescription Weight Loss MedicationBelviq (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.


7 Responses to “Belviq: New Prescription Weight Loss Medication”
  • Bev Egger says:

    I would like to be notified when this drug becomes available

    • Dr. Lazarus says:

      Bev – Rumor has it second week of June. Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter – I’ll include an article there, or like us on facebook – I’ll post there too as soon as I hear.

  • Tan Tjie Khauw says:

    Please advise on the procedure for an overweight who lives in Singapore, to be able obtain 3 months dosage of Belviq.? Thank You.

    • Dr. Lazarus says:

      I’m sorry but I am not aware of how / when Belviq will be released internationally. Also, why a 3 month dosage? Belviq is indicated for chronic (long-term) use, not for use for 3 months. In my experience, treating weight with medication for three months is generally not worthwhile. Because weight is a long-term issue, long-term treatments should be considered. That’s why Qsymia and Belviq are so important. At least here in the United States, both Qsymia and Belviq were approved for long-term use. If I hear of an international Belviq or Qsymia launch, I’ll let you know 🙂

  • Tan Tjie Khauw says:

    Dr Lazarus, thank you for taking time to reply. My understanding of the label requirements is that one should stop using if the drug does not reduce weight after 12 weeks, so I wish to try for 3 months and will also check my A1C and fast glucose after 3months. If it works I will definitely extend to 1 to 2 years or longer, to keep type 2 diabetes at bay. Though my HbA1c is within range at 5.3%, I am still worried about becoming type 2 in the future because my high carb diet which is hard to modify, you know the main staple food for many Chinese like myself are plenty of rice, noodles, flour cakes etc..Belviq can be that necessary drug just for this. Please correct me if I am wrong somewhere. thank you, again doctor Lazarus..

    27 kg/m2 or greater in the presence of at least one weight-related co-morbid

    • Dr. Lazarus says:

      You are exactly right 🙂 The label does ask that if 5% weight loss is not achieved at 5 months, the Belviq should be discontinued. Thanks for the clarification. Again, I’m sure I’ll be meeting with representatives from Belviq in the near future, and I’ll ask about international distribution. If / when that will happen, I’ll post back. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter – I’ll include an article there on any changes or updates.

  • Roger says:

    Drug will be available on the market June 7, 2013 a little over a week from now. Appears the demand will be very large, so better get your scripts in quickly shelves will probably go empty while the company is trying to find a good balance for their supply chain.

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