The controversial world of weight loss drugs has been given a green light by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first time in over a decade by the release of a new drug, called Belviq (lorcaserin) last week.
The drug works by controlling appetite, specifically by activating the serotonin 2C receptor in the brain. Activation of this receptor may help a person eat less and feel full after eating smaller amounts of food. In the clinical trials for Belviq, nearly half of dieters without type 2 diabetes lost at least five per cent of their body weight – on average 5.5 kg – over a year, compared with 23 per cent of those taking a placebo.The FDA approved the medication for people who are obese (have a BMI of 30 or higher) or are overweight (With a BMI of 27 or above) and also have one weight-related health condition (for example high cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes). The drug is approved as an addition to a reduced-kilojoule diet and exercise. It’s not without side-effects but so far has not been linked to heart problems, like some previously withdrawn prescription diet pills.
A spokesperson for the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) said the drug is not currently being evaluated for Australia. But since we're America's supersized cousin, could it be coming our way soon?