Lorcaserin, currently marketed under the trade name Belviq is the first slimming pill that was found significant weight loss, safe for the heart with long-term use, researchers in the US say.
A study on 12,000 overweight adults, led by Dr. Erin Bohula, a cardiovascular medicine expert at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, found that the appetite suppressant helped people to triple the chance of significant weight loss.
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Users lose an average of nine pounds (4kg) over a year, and that they kept the weight off for at least three years while cutting their blood pressure, heart rate and risk of diabetes.
Doctors have been dubbed the drug is the “holy grail” of weight loss. Lorcaserin is had already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but has yet to be approved in Europe due to earlier concerns that it might damage the heart.
Its price, though, not easy to adjust: between $220-$290 (£155-£225) a month.
Lorcaserin would be especially helpful among middle-aged adults when the body’s natural ability to adjust appetite weakens and weight loss becomes more difficult.
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This appetite suppressant is taken twice a day. It works by stimulating brain chemicals to induce a feeling of fullness.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, told the Press Association: “I think it is the thing everybody has been looking for.
“I think there will be several holy grails, but this is a holy grail and one which has been certainly at the back of the mind of a lot of specialists for a long time.
“But all of the other things apply – lifestyle change has got to be root and branch part of this.”
The drug has been shown to be effective as “adjunct therapy to reduced-calorie diet and increased physical exercise for patients in need of long-term weight management,” the MD Magazine noted