BELVIQ is the brand name used for the weight loss drug Lorcaserin. [UPDATED FOR AUGUST 2018]
The drug was created in America by Arena Pharmaceuticals, has somewhat of a chequered past, and is not deemed an acceptable weight loss option in many countries of the world.
Arena Pharmaceuticals first submitted BELVIQ to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval in December 2009.
The following September the FDA refused to approve the drug due to concerns about its safety and efficiency. The fact that some studies suggested the drug had caused tumours in rats was particularly damning.
In May 2012, after additional studies had been conducted, the FDA advisory panel voted in favour of making BELVIQ available as a prescription only weight loss aid and a press release was made public the following month.
Attempts were made to distribute the drug in Europe as well, but the European Medicines Agency took a look at the information Arena Pharmaceuticals had provided, were worried about the possibility of tumours and that the drug may be damaging to the heart valve.
When the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use contacted Arena Pharmaceuticals with a list of questions about BELVIQ the company withdrew its application. BELVIQ cannot be legally distributed in any European countries and this is a fact that is unlikely to change in the future.
How BELVIQ Works
BELVIQ is an appetite suppressant.
Appetite suppressants are designed to help people to eat less food without having to live with the distraction of hunger pangs.
Feelings of hunger are one of the biggest hurdles dieters have to face and can often be the deciding factor that causes dieters to forget their good intentions and break their diet. Use of appetite suppressing drugs or supplements may give dieters the extra support they need and ensure weight loss success.
Appetite suppression can be achieved in a number of ways. BELVIQ works by activating receptors in the brain and this ultimately leads to a feeling of satiety that allows the user to feel satisfied with less food.
A reduction in eating levels results in a decrease in calories and, if the level of calories consumed per day drops to a level that is less than the body requires, fat will need to be mobilised and burned to provide extra energy.
BELVIQ is only available as a 10mg capsule and the correct dose is one capsule, twice per day, which can be taken with food or without food. It is also very important that the drug be used as part of an overall weight management program that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. This one of the stipulations the FDA put in place when they granted their approval, and patients who fail to lose 5% of their bodyweight after three months will not receive any further prescriptions.
The FDA have issued strict guidelines doctors must use to decide a patient’s eligibility.
Patients must have BMI of 27 or more and suffer from a weight-related health problem, such as high cholesterol or diabetes. When a patients BMI reaches 30 or higher doctors are permitted to write a prescription even in cases where no health problems are apparent.
However, doctors can also refuse to issue a prescription if the patient’s medical history suggests BELVIQ may not be a safe option.
As far as pregnancy category goes, the FDA considers BELVIQ to be an “X”. Drugs that are placed in this category can pose a risk to the fetus, so BELVIQ is not suitable from women who are pregnant. It may also be unsuitable for people who have heart problems, sickle cell anaemia, leukaemia, kidney problems, liver disease, or certain other medical conditions.
BELVIQ is not suitable for use alongside some medications including lithium, St. John’s Wort, and monamine oxidasae inhibitors.
Potential for Side Effects
People who suffer from diabetes are apparently more susceptible to certain common side effects. These include:
- Back pain
Other possible side effects dieters may encounter are:
- Dry mouth
- Reduction in blood sugar
- Painful erection
- Slowed hart beat
- Problems focussing
- Thoughts of suicide
BELVIQ is listed in Schedule 5 of the Controlled Substances Act because it is a drug that could be abused and used for recreational use. There is also a danger of addiction, so BELVIQ may not be suitable for anyone who has a history of recreational drug use and/or dependency issues.
Recommended Diet Pills
There are several diet pills that are available right now that do not pose any risk of side effects and have been thoroughly tested.
One of the best examples is PhenQ – a non prescription multi cation diet pill that is a fat burner, fat blocker and appetite suppressant.