Belviq: The Best Diet Pill?

For the first time in over a dozen years, the FDA has approved a new diet pill. Arena Pharmaceuticals calls their drug Belviq, which is a lot easier to say than lorcaserin, the technical name for the drug. Could this be the “magic” that has so long eluded us?

Belviq helps you lose weight by reducing your appetite. If you aren’t hungry, you eat less. Pretty simple approach, right? It does this by affecting your brain’s reaction to serotonin. Serotonin plays a role in your feelings of fullness, satisfaction and overall mood.

The Belviq diet pill was put through exhaustive clinical trials. A previous attempt to limit appetite by targeting certain serotonin receptors, called fenfluramine or “fen” had a nasty side effect of damaging heart valves and was withdrawn from the market. Meridia, another appetite reducer drug, was removed from the marketplace because of side effects such as stroke and heart attack. The Belviq trials went much better.

In the trials, about half of the people who took Belviq lost at least 5% of their body weight. Only about one person in five who took a placebo enjoyed this kind of weight loss. And 20% of Belviq users lost 10% or more of their body weight. Woo hoo! The Belviq users also reported that long-term use of the pill allowed them to keep the weight off following the diet phase.

Belviq is only approved for BMIs over 30
The approved treatment plan for Belviq calls for using the pill for 12 weeks. This is the recommended duration because the clinical trials found that few people lost any real weight after 12 weeks.

Could Belviq be right for you? Clearly, only your doctor can really answer that question. The FDA recommends Belviq only for people who are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Of course, there are reported side effects, like headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth and constipation. Even the placebo can cause some of these side effects!

Pricing is not yet available from Arena Pharmaceuticals, but expect this to be a major player in the diet marketplace.

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