A new slimming pill could help millions of people fight the spread of middle age, a large study found.
Scientists say that lorcaserin – the "holy grail" of weight control – is three times more effective than a diet alone. The twice-daily tablets promote the brain cells that control the appetite, which can become less effective with age.
An American trial involving 12,000 overweight people found that the drug lost in the first year an average of £ 9oz lost the £ 3 lost by those who advised on weight loss alone – and kept the weight for at least the three years of study ,
Crucial, Lorcaserin also proved safe in the long run, which could pave the way
British experts said the pill – for a monthly need costing about 220 pounds – would fill a big gap in the battle against the problem of this country's spiral overweight.
At present, physicians can only advise people to diet and exercise, or to refer them to bariatric surgery.
Professor Jason Halford, an obesity expert at the University of Liverpool, said: "We have a huge gap between lifestyle modification and surgery, there is nothing in between, which could be largely enacted if allowed in the UK."  Dr. Erin Bohula, who led the study at Harvard Medical School, yesterday told the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich – the world's largest gathering of cardiac physicians – The results marked an "important milestone".
She added: " We have for the first time been able to demonstrate in a rigorous, randomized way that this weight loss drug does what it is supposed to do – it helps people lose weight – without causing an increase in unwanted cardiovascular events in a higher-risk population for heart attacks and strokes . "
Dr. Bohula said diet and exercise should remain the "cornerstone" of weight loss, but added, "The challenge has It's difficult to sustain it."
The study also showed that the drug's risk of developing Type 2 Decreased diabetes by 19 percent and improved blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate.
Lorcaserin could help adults of any age, but experts believe that they could be especially useful for those of middle age.
It works by activating the cells in the brain, controlling the "satiety", telling us when we are full. These cells – called POMC neurons – become less efficient with age, meaning it takes longer for the brain to get the message that the stomach is full. Researchers believe that this is a major cause of overfeeding and spread in middle age.
The drug strengthens these neurons and helps patients to control their appetite when trying to lose weight.
Attempts to develop appetite suppressants have been troubling because they have also caused heart problems. Similar fears have ceased that Lorcaserin acquired a European security license when it was developed six years ago.
Dr. However, Bohula said that the new study, also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, should alleviate these fears.
Lorcarserin's The manufacturer Eisai said last night that he was evaluating his options for a new application to the European Medicines Agency.
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said: "This has confirmed the belief of many obesity specialists to have a drug that will safely and effectively suppress appetite will be the Holy Grail in obesity medication." His greatest value will be to prevent obesity at the source as well to deliver an impressive weight loss. "The only weight-loss drug currently available on the NHS is orlistat, which prevents fat from being absorbed into the body. It comes with unpleasant side effects such as wind and incontinence
Lorcaserin is almost twice as effective, with 37 percent of the lean with the new drug losing at least 5 percent of their body weight, compared with 21 percent of those on orlistat
lorcaserin, the subcutaneous marketed under the brand name Belviq has been subject to prescription in the US since 2012.
Lorcaserin is almost twice as effective, with 37 percent of lean individuals losing the new drug at least 5 percent of their body weight compared with 21 per cent of former owner Orlistat
In the past, there have been several attempts to license the license in Europe after the authorities voiced concerns about lack of data on long-term security. Meanwhile, however, it has been purchased by Eisai, which has tried more ambitiously to have it approved in the EU world. It has already acquired licenses in South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Brazil and Mexico. Professor Halford said European regulators were initially worried about lorcaserin because previous appetite suppressants would have caused serious side effects.
He added, "This 3.3-year study gives us confidence that it does not have the side effects of its predecessors Diet is difficult If you are overweight, you have no appetite control the ability to control your appetite and help you with the diet. "
For the drug to become available on the NHS, it would need to receive a safety license from the European Medicines Agency and then be approved by the NHS for cost-effectiveness Watchdog Nice. 68 percent of men and 58 percent of women in the UK are overweight and Nice is pressured to look more closely at the drug.
Professor Lora Heisler, Chair of Human Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen, said: "For the great majority of us, we should try to combat obesity through diet and exercise with altered lifestyles."
"But for some, physicians may decide that drugs can be a useful adjunct to a diet and exercise program. "
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said," Appetite-lowering anti-obesity drugs have a long and generally unfortunate history – they have either did not work or had unacceptable side effects.
"It is reassuring to see that this medicine does not seem to harm the heart and circulation of those who ingest it."