Belviq is the latest buzzword among dieters these days, and even newspapers can’t stay away from its claims to suppress appetite and boost mood.
One of two diet pills to gain FDA approval in the last 13 years, Belviq is clinically proven to trick the brain into feeling fuller for longer. Despite the fact that Belviq won’t be released until 2013, thousands of dieters are asking their doctors for the latest scoop on this unique prescription supplement.
With so much Belviq hype circulating the internet, I decided to clear the air and set the rumors straight.
The Basics on Belviq
Belviq, also known as Lorcaserin, is not a one-hit wonder drug for losing weight fast. Nor is it a quick-fix solution for those looking to lose the last 10 pounds.
Rather, this pharmaceutical prescription is a long-term solution for obesity. It’s a tool for appetite control, designed to accompany a healthy, low-calorie diet and regular exercise.
Belviq is only prescribed by doctors to individuals with a BMI of 30 or higher. It can also be used by those with a BMI of 27 and a weight-related medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or cholesterol.
Its main ingredient, Lorcaserin Hydrochloride, is a controlled substance with a high risk of abuse. Lorcaserin is unique in that it interacts with serotonin receptors, increasing the hormone’s production.
Because serotonin is responsible for appetite and satiety, Belviq can trick the body into feeling full for an extended time period. Assuming you’re not an emotional eater, this can give you greater control over when and how much you eat.
In order to gain FDA-approval, a new supplement must undergo years of clinical research and testing to ensure safety and effectiveness – so right off the bat, I’m impressed Belviq made the cut.
According to an FDA press release, “About 47 percent of patients without type 2 diabetes lost at least 5 percent of their body weight compared with about 23 percent of patients treated with placebo. In people with type 2 diabetes, about 38 percent of patients treated with Belviq and 16 percent treated with placebo lost at least 5 percent of their body weight.”
In three randomized trials involving over 8,000 patients, with and without type 2 diabetes, participants were either given a Belviq supplement or a placebo for 1 to 2 years. Those who received Belviq averaged a 3% to 3.5% greater weight loss than those who did not.
So what does this mean for you as the consumer?
If you are a 200 pound healthy individual, then Belviq could potentially help you lose 10 pounds in 1 year, or a little less than 1 pound per month.
Should You Be Worried About Side Effects?
The biggest downside is the risk of negative side effects. Even when taken as prescribed, Belviq still poses a huge risk.
Healthy patients experienced side effects such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation.
While patients with diabetes experienced additional side effects such as low blood sugar, headache, back pain, cough, and fatigue.
Furthermore, Belviq can cause more severe side effects. When taken in high dosages, Belviq triggers different serotonin switches than those responsible for appetite. Rather, the increased serotonin results in hallucinations similar to LSD and other addictive drugs.
A Little History on Belviq
Belviq is made by Arena Pharmaceuticals, a company that focuses on developing and commercializing various drugs.
Originally Belviq was denied FDA approval in 2007 due to concerns about heart-valve damage in humans and tumors in animals. However, further evidence revealed that Belviq did not affect the serotonin 2B receptor which triggered damage, though it may aggravate current heart conditions.
Arena Pharmaceuticals will be required to conduct six post-marketing studies, including a long-term cardiovascular outcomes trial to assess its full effects.
How to Use Belviq
Individual dosing and scheduling will vary depending on your doctor’s prescription.
However, most Belviq users supplemented twice daily with one or two 10 mg capsules. They took one serving in the morning and another at night.
It works best when used alongside a healthy diet and exercise program. Even then, it may take up to 12 weeks before you see results.
Missed Dose: If you miss a dose, take Belviq as soon as you remember – UNLESS, it’s almost time for your next dose. Take your next dose as scheduled, but do not take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose. Too much Belviq can result in an overdose.
Overdose: If you overdose on Belviq, contact medical help immediately or call the poison control line at 1-800-222-1222. Large doses of Belviq may cause hallucinations, confusion, coordination problems, muscle spasms, racing heartbeat, and vomiting.
Anticipated Release Date
Because of Belviq’s high abuse risk, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration must schedule its release. Its anticipated availability is early to mid-2013, probably around May.
Belviq might not be the strongest, fastest diet pill ever developed, but research proves it to be an effective, long-term solution for weight loss.
When used as prescribed, Belviq can be a valuable aid for controlling appetite and improving mood, especially when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.
On the other hand, few consumers are willing to wait weeks for results, let alone months or even years. Because Belviq is only available by prescription, it’s easy to see why this supplement might not be your “cup of tea.”
There are plenty of reliable all-natural supplements available that offer fewer negative side effects and faster results, so I suggest you do your homework before asking your doctor about Belviq.
 Yao, Stephanie (2012). “FDA approves Belviq to treat some overweight or obese adults.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 17 Oct. 2012. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm309993.htm