In late June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new prescription weight loss drug for the first time in 13 years. Lorcaserin—to be marketed in the U.S. under the name Belviq®—was approved as an addition to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise for chronic weight management, according to an FDA press release. On its heels in mid-July came a second approval—for Qsymia™—another prescription drug for weight loss.
“Belviq may offer a promising new and seemingly safer pharmacological option for individuals struggling with obesity,” said Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “It must be remembered, however, that obesity is a complex problem requiring a multifaceted solution. For the best and most lasting results, physical activity, nutrition and behavior modification must be part of any treatment approach to obesity.”
Belviq is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obese), or adults who have a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) and at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetesor high cholesterol (dyslipidemia). Belviq works 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.
Specific details about Qsymia were not available at press time.
Bryant cautions that this is no panacea to overweight and obesity challenges. “Belviq should not be considered a weight loss cure-all or the answer to the nation’s obesity epidemic,” he said. “Patients must be armed with tools and information that will help them set realistic weight loss goals, follow a healthy diet and engage in safe and effective physical activity programs, regardless of fitness level, which will help increase their opportunity for living their most fit lives.”