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Obesity Drug Approved By FDA

The FDA has approved a new fat loss drug.

June 28, 2012– The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first weight-loss medication in over 13 years. The regulatory agency has set a very high bar to get approvals for weight-loss pills since they know many millions of Americans would be apt to take them. Past medicines have seen safety problems and deaths have been attributed to their use. In 1997, in one of the most notorious cases the “fen-phen” weight loss pill was taken off the market.

However, with close to two-thirds of the American population considered to be obese or overweight, the FDA has received increased pressure to okay a new treatment for weight-loss. Belvig, known by the chemical name lorcaserin, was one of three experimental treatments for weight-loss that were seeking approval from the FDA following initial agency rejection. Orexigen and Vivus are still hopeful they will get their medications approved.

Wall Street analysts said that a new successful diet medication would rake in billions of dollars in sales.

Belvig blocks signals for appetite in the patient’s brain to help them feel full after eating smaller quantities of food. In clinical trials, patients lost on average approximately 5% of their body weight. The FDA-approved label for the drug says it should be halted if the patient has not lost 5% of their weight after using the pill daily for 12 weeks.

Arena Pharmaceuticals, makers of the drug, saw its stock increase by 28.7% on Wednesday to close at $11.39.

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