A weight loss pill was praised as a possible "holy grail" in the fight against obesity after a large study showed that it did not increase the risk of serious heart problems.
Researchers say lorcaserin is the first weight loss drug that is considered safe for heart health in long-term use. The drug is taken twice a day and acts as an appetite suppressant that stimulates satiety by stimulating brain chemicals.
A US study found 1
Further analysis showed no major differences in tests for heart valve damage.
Tam Fry, the British Obesity Forum, said the drug may be the "Holy Grail" of Weight Loss Medicine.
"I think it's what everyone's been looking for," he said
"I think there will be several holy grails, but this is a holy grail and one that many experts have long kept in mind
"But all the other things are true – the lifestyle change must be an integral part of it."
Professor Jason Halford, an obesity expert at the University of Liverpool, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the drug's availability in the UK would depend on whether it is approved by the regulators of the National Health Service.
"We have no appetite suppressants available on the NHS. We have a big gap between modification and lifestyle surgery, "he said.
" Right now you either get support and advice, or you come to surgery – there's nothing in between. This could be largely mandated when approved by Nice (the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) in the United Kingdom.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of lorcaserin in some adults in 2012. 19659002] The drug has been available under the name Belviq since 2013, where it is priced at $ 220-290 (155 225 pounds per month).
Dr Erin Bohula, a cardiovascular medical expert from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, led the study on its long-term effects.
"Patients and their doctors were nervous about the Use of medicines to treat obesity and for good reason. There is a history of these drugs that have serious complications, "she said.
In addition to affecting the heart, there are concerns that weight-loss medicines can lead to mental health problems.
The results of the study on Lorcaserin were published on Sunday discussed at the European Society of Cardiology in Munich and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers found that after one year, 39% of the participants given lorcaserin had lost at least 5% of their baseline weight compared to 17% of patients receiving placebo also showed that fewer people who developed lorcaserin had diabetes, 8.5%, compared to 10.3% on placebo.
Heart valve damage testing was performed on 3,270 participants However, no significant differences were found in the rates.
Suicidal thoughts or behaviors were observed i reported 21 patients taking lorcaserin compared to 11 subjects given placebo. However, the use of the drug for weight loss had a depression.
The researchers said: "Among overweight or obese patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors treated with dietary and exercise interventions, those who received lorcaserin had better long-term weight loss rates than those receiving placebo at a median follow-up of 3.3 years.
"The higher weight reduction rates were achieved without an accompanying increase in the risk of cardiovascular events."