Belviq (Lorcaserin) is an FDA-approved prescription drug treatment for adult overweight people or patients with weight-related medical problems that facilitates weight loss, in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise. The medication belongs to a drug class called serotonin receptor agonists and its mechanism of action works by affecting a specific part of the brain, controling the appetite.

In addition to help reducing weight, it may also help control other comorbidities, including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Belviq was developed and is commercialized by the companies Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, and is available in orally administered pills. The medication should be taken according to a physician’s recommendations, which is usually twice every day, with or without food, for a determined period of time.

History of Belviq (Lorcaserin)

The FDA approved the commercialization of Belviq in the United States in 2012, making it the first weight loss medication to receive authorization in over a decade. Arena Pharmaceuticals filed a New Drug Application (NDA) for Locarserin at the end of 2009. Within the two-year-process, the FDA analyzed the data provided by both Arena and Eisai, and issued positive recommendations based on the clinical studies. While Eisai holds the rights to commercialize Belviq worldwide, with the exception of South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Israel and New Zealand, Arena is responsible for the sales in all other regions.

How Belviq (Lorcaserin) Works

The mechanism of action of Belviq is based on the interaction with the central nervous system. It targets 5-HT2C receptors, acting particularly in the hypothalamus, reducing the patient’s appetite. By stimulating the receptors in the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons, Belviq provokes the release of alpha-melanocortin-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH). Other weight loss drugs that stimulate the 5-HT2B receptors had already been tested but ended up causing pulmonary hypertension and heart-valve problems.

Other Details About Belviq (Lorcaserin)

Most common side effects to the use of Belviq include, nausea, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, constipation and tiredness. However, the persistance of the symptoms should be supervised by a physician. More severe side effects, including easy bleeding, bruising, enlarged breasts, mental or mood changes, shaking or twitching of the muscles, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, swelling in the limbs and unexplained fever may also occur.

A severe allergic reaction and painful and prolonged erections are even more rare reactions to the medication. The combination of Belviq with other prescription, over-the-counter or herbal weight-loss products has not been studied and it is therefore discouraged by the producer. The same indications are true regarding the therapy’s use during pregnancy.

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