If only we could take a pill and be 1) thinner 2) happier 3) wealthier. I don’t know of a pill for #3, there are plenty for #2 and as for #1—recently the FDA approved two drugs—the first in 13 years.
That was a long wait, especially considering more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight. The medications are designed to be taken for the rest of a person’s life. The costs may be approximately $100 – $200 a month.
They’re approved for patients whose body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more, and overweight patients whose BMI is 27 or more IF they have a co-morbid condition like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
The drugs are contraindicated for pregnant women and may carry cardiovascular risks: Further testing is slated to assess the latter.
Here’s the run-down on moving that scale needle downward…
1) Belviq (generic: lorcaserin): From Arena Pharmaceuticals is to be used with a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity.
a. Details: It’s lorcaserin hydrochloride, which activates serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood. You’ll feel fuller after eating smaller quantities of food. It may help you lose up to 5 percent of body weight.
b: When can I? Likely, early 2013. Experts believe it will be labeled a “controlled substance.”
a. Details: It contains an appetite suppressant, phentermine, and a drug normally used to treat migraines and/or seizures, called topiramate. Any licensed doctor could write prescriptions for this combo, by the way. It may help you lose up to 10 percent of body weight.
b. When can I? Fourth quarter, this year.
Experts wonder why Americans wouldn’t want to eat well and exercise when it’s not just about weight loss: Both factors lower risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and the list goes on. As we’re constantly reminded, these pills are no magic bullet.