Belviq (Lorcaserin) is the first FDA approved weight loss drug in 13 years. If these are the best diet pills they can find, don’t bother. Here is why.
Belviq-Lorcaserin Approval Details
The nitty gritty on Belviq, which is the new trade name for Lorcaserin (ADP-356), is that it was first rejected by the FDA on September 16, 2010, based on concerns over safety and efficacy. Then, after further studies by the manufacturer (Arena Pharmaceuticals), the FDA reversed its position and on June 27, 2012, approved its use, with certain restrictions. Those restrictions are that it be used only for the treatment of obesity in adults with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of at least 30, or in adults with a BMI of at least 27 and who, “…have at least one weight-related health condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.”
Hmm. I suppose this means that doubts about the safety and efficacy of this drug are moot if you are big enough or in bad enough health.
How Does It Work?
Biochemists call lorcaserin a “selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist.” Translated, this means that it activates those parts of the brain (receptors) where a serotonin precursor (5-HT) works. Yup, it is another attempt by our friendly drug manufacturers to fool you into feeling full so you will stop eating sooner. The jargon is to “promote weight loss through satiety.”
It is too bad that this approach to designing a weight loss drug is doomed to fail, because it relies on the flawed ‘Calories In/Calories Out’ strategy. This is a simple-minded strategy that is clearly ineffective. The human body is not a furnace for burning calories. It is a complex set of metabolic processes that have to be taken into account for optimizing metabolism.
The FDA accepts remarkably low standards for any new weight loss drug: at least 5 percent loss of body weight within 12 months. Overall results for lorcaserin show an average of 3 to 3.7 percent weight loss over a year. If you start out at 250 pounds, on average you can expect to lose 7.5 to 9.25 pounds. However, the saving grace for this drug in the eyes of the FDA is that 47 percent of patients without diabetes lost at least 5 percent of their body weight. It just squeaked in at the minimum standard … whoopee!
For comparison, modifying your diet by choosing the right foods and eating at the right times can provide weight loss of 2 pounds per week with very little effort. And if you add a little of the right kinds of exercise, you can accelerate it even more. Just think, eating right and exercising right outdo the only new weight loss drug that the FDA has approved in the past 13 years. Isn’t that interesting?
Oh, one other little observation to note about clinical results with lorcaserin: when patients stopped taking the drug, they gained their weight back. Gee, it looks like another ‘drug for life’ from Big Pharma. Once you get your first prescription, which should be available by early 2013, you have to keep taking it as long as you live.
So far the side effects have been minimized to include only a slight chance of depression, migraine, and memory lapses. Stay tuned.
Good luck with these diet pills,