Belviq is a weight loss drug that can only be legally obtained with a doctor’s prescription. The FDA sanctioned its use in 2012, but it did not become available until the following year. It’s manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals and Belviq is a brand name, the drug’s generic name is Lorcaserin.
Dieters who use Belviq can expect a to lose 3-3.7% of their bodyweight within a year, but research suggests any weight that is lost can return quite quickly after the treatment is ceased. In one study patients who were prescribed Belviq for a year successfully lost 5% of their body weight, but by the end of the following year the patients had regained 50% of the weight they had lost while taking the drug. So in this respect Belviq does not compare well to some of the other prescription-only weight loss medications such as Phentermine and Orlistat.
Eligibility for Treatment
The FDA has approved Belviq for distribution via prescription but, as is generally the case with such medications, it must be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program and it is only suitable for adults. Further restrictions are also in place. In order to be eligible for treatment with Belviq, patients must have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Some patients who have a BMI between 27 and 30 may also be eligible, but only if they suffer from at least one weight-related condition. A few examples are: high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes.
How Belviq Works
Belviq works by causing changes in the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin levels can effect the mood and many drugs that have the ability to stimulate changes in serotonin appear to be capable of influencing the appetite, thereby helping people to sustain a low calorie diet without being troubled by feelings of hunger. Drugs or supplements that can suppress the appetite can often help people to reduce their daily calorie intake by an extent that is sufficient to cause a calorie deficit that necessitates the burning of body fat for extra energy. However, if the best results are to be obtained appetite suppressants need to be used in conjunction with healthy eating choices and exercise.
Side Effects & Suitability Issues
Belviq is not suitable for everyone, regardless of how heavy they may have become. It is unsuitable for pregnant women and women who are nursing a child. The FDA has several categories relating to the dangers specific drugs may present to an unborn child. Belviq is a category X drug that may present a serious risk to a fetus.
A few users may find they are allergic to the active ingredient (lorcaserin) and others may be unsuitable candidates due to existing medical conditions.
A few examples include:
- Heart valve disorder
- Congestive hart failure
- Sickle cell anaemia
- kidney/liver disease
- Peyrones disease (deformity of the penis)
Like Phentermine, Belviq can also have an addictive nature, so it may be an unsuitable weight loss option for people who have past problems with drug addiction and abuse.
Anyone who is considering using Belviq for weight loss purposes also needs to be aware the drug has been linked to numerous side effects, some of which may effect the mind as well as the body. Belviq usage can interfere with the memory and the ability to focus the mind on any given task. It can also cause hallucinations, so the manufacturer suggests new users refrain from driving a car or operating machinery until they are sure the drug will not interfere with their ability to safely do so.
Other side effects people may experience when using Belviq include:
- Feelings of fatigue
- Dry Mouth
- Back pain
- Thoughts of suicide
- Low blood sugar
- Slow heartbeat
- Painful erections