Obesity

New Obesity Drug Predicted to Have Fewer Side Effects

A new investigational drug known as Lorcaserin aided obese individuals to lose nearly 5 percent of their total body weight.  Although the reduction in weight doesn’t seem to be significant, the drug is reported to possibly create fewer side effects and to be safer when compared to other obesity drugs that may be more effective.  This new drug has been developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals, which is based in San Diego, CA. Lorcaserin is a selective serotonin 2C receptor antagonist meaning it directly acts on the specific receptors present for the chemical messenger, serotonin. These receptors are responsible for mainly satiety (or a feeling of fullness) but also effect appetite and metabolism.

A clinical trial that took place from 2006 to 2009, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and funded by Arena Pharmaceuticals, concluded that in conjunction with behavioral modifications, participants who took Lorcaserin experienced weight loss and improved maintenance of weight loss when compared with those that took a placebo.  As of present time, the maker of the drug is awaiting final approval by the FDA.

Many of the drugs developed for weight loss have either been taken off the market or left in the late-stages of development and approval due to their possible dangerous and harmful side effects. A major concern for the FDA, who has the final approval of these drugs, is the side effects, long-term safety issues and benefits of these potential drugs.   It is important to remember that weight loss drugs are only meant for a particular subset of people, usually those considered severely obese or those that are overweight with extreme medical conditions directly related to their weight.  Even with weight loss drugs a healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle change need to be implemented for weight loss and successful maintenance of that weight loss.

References

BLOOM: Behavioral Modification and Lorcaserin for Overweight and Obesity Management:
http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00395135

Multicenter, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Lorcaserin for Weight Management:
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0909809

Arena Pharmaceuticals Receives Notice from FDA of Advisory Committee Meeting for Lorcaserin:
http://www.drugs.com/nda/lorcaserin_120201.html

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