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New Pill Found to Cut Weight With Few Side Effects: Study
Date:7/14/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- A weight-loss pill called lorcaserin not only helps people drop pounds but does so with few side effects, new industry-funded research reports.

A potential player in fighting the obesity epidemic, lorcaserin is a new type of weight-loss drug that works by acting on serotonin, a chemical associated with feelings of well-being and feeling full, and does not appear to increase blood pressure or cause any other heart problems, according to the researchers, whose work was sponsored by the drug manufacturer.

"In this long-term study of lorcaserin for treating patients for obesity, there was good weight loss, outstanding safety profile and the drug was extremely well-tolerated," said lead researcher Dr. Steven Smith from the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes in Winter Park, Fla.

"As patients are looking for additional options and physicians are looking for new tools, [lorcaserin] provides us with a look into the future for what's going to be available for helping patients lose weight," he added.

The report is published in the July 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, and was sponsored by Arena Pharmaceuticals, of San Diego, Calif., which used its own doctors as part of the study group.

The drug is one of three new anti-obesity drugs being considered for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. On Thursday, an FDA advisory panel is expected to review Qnexa, made by Vivus, from a combination of phentermine and topiramate. It helped patients in clinical trials lose as much as 13 percent to 15 percent of body weight.

FDA briefing documents posted online Tuesday acknowledged Qnexa's effectiveness in helping patients lose weight, but said the review panel should take into account a number of potential nervous system and psychiatric side effects, the Associated Press re
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