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A new drug Lorcaserin, which is still in its experimental stage, has been found to help you lose weight without adversely affecting your heart.

Lorcaserin can Help You Lose Weight without Adversely Affecting Your Heart

Various drugs have been introduced from time to time to help you in shedding those extra pounds. However, all of these old generation medicines have been associated with certain side effects, the most noticeable among them being heart problems. However, a new drug Lorcaserin, which is still in its experimental stage, has been found to help you lose weight without adversely affecting your heart.



In what could be heartening news to all the obese people around the world, a new study, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, has found lorcaserin to be effective in shedding some extra pounds. The study, conducted by Meredith C Fidler et al, was aimed at evaluating the effects of lorcaserin on body weight, cardiovascular risk factors, and safety in obese and overweight patients. 4008 patients, aged 18–65 years, with a body mass index higher than normal, received lorcaserin for a year along with diet and exercise counseling. More than 40 percent participants lost at least five percent of their initial weight as compared to just 25% who received placebos.

The patients receiving lorcaserin were divided into two groups. While the first group received lorcaserin 10 mg twice daily (BID), the second group received lorcaserin 10 mg once daily (QD). The patients who received the twice daily dose lost more weight (47.2%) as compared to those who received only one dose of lorcaserin daily (40.2%).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Lorcaserin as yet

The results of the latest study support the results of an earlier study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, in which 47.5% of the 1,600 participants lost 5% of their body weight after taking lorcaserin for at least a year. 68% of the participants managed to keep their weight under control for a second year.

Though lorcaserin has been found effective in shedding weight, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the drug as yet. This is because research in rats has suggested that it could be a cancer risk. Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., the drug company that has made lorcaserin, has promised to conduct further research into the potential cancer risk in human beings. If further researches prove that lorcaserin does not increase to the cancer risk, it will be a big boon for the battle against obesity.

Almost one third of the U.S. population is facing obesity. The drugs introduced in the market earlier to fend off obesity had to be pulled out because of their association with heart problems. Fen-phen, an anti-obesity medicine was banned in 1997 because of fatal heart valve problems. Another similar medicine Meridia was pulled off last year because of its links with heart problems.

Apart from lorcaserin, the FDA rejected two more drugs on health concerns. One is Contrave, a combination of antidepressant bupropion and Naltrexone, a drug used against addiction. The other is Qnexa, which combines the appetite suppressant phentermine and the anti-seizure drug topiramate. These two have also been rejected on the basis of potential heart risk. Lorcaserin is an anti-obesity drug which is not associated with heart problems. It works by targeting brain receptors for serotonin, a chemical associated with hunger. If its association with cancer risk is found to be untrue, millions of patients who cannot shed their weight just on diet and exercise alone, will get a new option for losing weight.

  • A One-Year Randomized Trial of Lorcaserin for Weight Loss in Obese and Overweight Adults: The BLOSSOM Trial, Meredith C. Fidler et al, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, published on July 27, 2011, accessed on Sept 6, 2011
  • “Experimental obesity drug beats placebo again”, Amy Norton, Reuters, published on Aug31, 2011, accessed on Sept 6, 2011
  • Photo courtesy of Destinys Agent on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/destinysagent/1879350215/