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Malia Frey

New Diet Drug Lorcaserin Approved by FDA

By June 27, 2012

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new weight loss drug called lorcaserin.  The product will sold under the name Belviq.  According the the FDA release, Belviq is approved for use in adults with a body mass index of 30 or greater or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater and who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

How does Belviq work?

Lorcaserin works by activating serotonin receptors in your brain.  Makers of the drug hope that it will help dieters full after they've eaten less food.  But the FDA points out that the drug is meant to be used as part of a more comprehensive program that involves cutting calories and participating in an exercise program.

Will Belviq help me lose weight?

The new diet drug has been studied so far in nearly 8,000 obese and overweight patients.  Everyone involved in the study received exercise and diet counseling.  On average, the patients who used the drug lost roughly 3-4% of their body weight after a year.

While that isn't a significant amount of weight for everyone, it might be helpful in giving some patients the boost they need to get started.  But if you're looking for a way to get around traditional methods of losing weight, this isn't it.  You will still need to learn how to count calories and start some kind of fitness program.  Additional studies to be performed on the drug may provide more information in the coming months.

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