Belviq - What This Weight Loss Drug Can Do for You

Generic Name: lorcaserin
Brand Names: Belviq

Belviq, a weight loss drug that became widely available in late 2013, is one of the few weight loss drugs approved by the FDA over the past 13 years. Made by Arena Pharmaceuticals, the generic name is Lorcaserin.

Belviq - Weight Loss DrugBelviq works by targeting receptors for appetite, thus reduces cravings and overall appetite.

How Does Belviq Work

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that affects your mood. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a group of drugs which are generally used to treat depression. However, it has been discovered that drugs which affect our neurotransmitters also have other effects on our feelings, our appetites being one of them.

Belviq works by changing certain serotonin receptors in our brain, which for many reduces cravings and overall appetite. The makers of Belviq state that this drug targets only receptors for appetite and not feelings of well-being or depression.

What Studies Found

Clinical studies involving Belviq showed that those who consumed it lose slightly more than those who were given a placebo, when no dietary instructions were given. However, for the group that was given dietary advice about what to eat to lose weight, the group that took Belviq lost twice as much weight as the placebo group

However, it is important to note that, in almost all cases, people regained the weight they lost soon after going off of the drug. The amount of weight lost, also, was not as much as you might expect, with only about 3.7 percent of body weight lost over a one year study period.

Are There Side Effects?

Yes, there are plenty of side effects with this drug, including headaches, fatigue, nausea, and constipation. The most common side effect was headaches. Serious problems include a slower heart rate, heart valve problems, and painful erections.

For those who seem to think more is better, side effects of taking more than prescribed has resulted in slow thinking, intense feelings of euphoria and hallucinations. This drug is classified as a schedule IV drug because it does cause hallucinations.

Who Should Take It?

Belviq is recommended for those with a BMI of 30 or over or a BMI of 27 with a health problem such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Belviq is not intended to be used by those who only have a few pounds to lose or those who have a family history of, or are currently suffering from any type of heart problem, heart valve problems kidney or liver disease, or leukemia.

Belviq should not be consumed by pregnant women or breast feeding mothers.

Can It Be Taken Long Term?

Technically, it is approved for long term use. Others, however, question whether is drug is safe, especially for those who experience psychological side effects.

Will My Insurance Cover It?

Many people report that their insurance covers this medication, however, since health plans vary greatly, you should check with your insurance provider. Your doctor can also offer you coupons or other types of assistance to help bring the cost down. Average cost for 30 days of the brand name is $200 per month. Online pharmacies might also offer savings if the generic label is purchased.

The Bottom Line

Most people will find that these types of drugs help over a short period of time, but to truly beat obesity, new habits of thinking and behavior must be introduced. This is why so many people lose weight, only to regain it later.

If you decide to use a weight loss drug to help you get through the rough beginning of a diet that is between you and your doctor. However, many people will find that they have better results over the long term when they discover the root problem of why they overeat.