Available by prescription only, Belviq is used in combination with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet to help people lose weight. It is approved for use in people who are obese or those who are overweight and have a weight-related health problem. Belviq comes as a tablet that is usually taken twice daily. Side effects are possible and may include dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.
What Is Belviq?
Belviq® (lorcaserin) is a prescription medication approved to help with weight loss in people who are obese or overweight and have at least one weight-related health problem. It is meant to be used in combination with a low-calorie diet and exercise. It contains the active ingredient lorcaserin hydrochloride.
Belviq is made by Arena Pharmaceuticals GmbH and distributed by Eisai, Inc.
How Does Belviq Work?
The exact way that Belviq works to help with weight loss is unknown. What is known is that the drug binds to and activates a certain type of serotonin receptor in the brain (the serotonin 2c receptor). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that plays an important role in several areas, including mood, sleep, and appetite. It is thought that, by activating serotonin receptors, Belviq helps people eat less and feel full faster.
Belviq has been studied in clinical trials that included people who were overweight or obese. Some people were given Belviq, while others were given a placebo (a similar product that does not contain any active ingredients). In these studies, everyone in the study also consumed a low-calorie diet and exercised. In one study, 47.1 percent of people who took Belviq for up to a year lost at least 5 percent of their body weight, compared to 22.6 percent of people who took the placebo.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Belviq [package insert]. Woodcliff Lake, NJ: Eisai, Inc.;2012 June.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed May 13, 2013.
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