A new obesity drug was approved for sale today by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is the first time in 13 years that the FDA has approved a weight-loss drug.
Arena Pharmaceuticals will soon start selling the drug lorcaserin, dubbed Belviq, to help regulate metabolism.
Forbes reports that the drug affects an area of the brain that helps people to eat less.
Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement:
“Obesity threatens the overall well being of patients and is a major public health concern… The approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition.”
Jack Lief, Arena’s President and Chief Executive Officer, added:
“The FDA approval of BELVIQ is an important development for patients who struggle with obesity or are overweight with comorbidities and need help with chronic weight management beyond diet and exercise.”
CEO Lonnel Coats added:
“Belviq represents an important therapeutic option for physicians responsible for the medical management of their patients who are overweight or obese.”
Forbes reports that Arena stock skyrocketed after the obesity drug was approved by the FDA and predicts that BELVIQ will become a $1.5 billion drug.
According to Arena Pharmaceuticals, the drug may cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation in patients without diabetes. Patients with diabetes, may experience hypoglycemia, headache, back pain, cough, and fatigue.
The Global Post reports that the drug has been approved for adults with a BMI over 30. Adults with a BMI over 27, who also suffer from a weight-related condition like type 2 diabetes or hypertension, may also use the new drug.