New diet pill no easy path to weight loss

Experts are skeptical that Belviq, the first weight-loss treatment approved by the FDA in more than a decade, is worth the bother.

By Jonathan Berr Jun 14, 2013 4:51PM
Arena Pharmaceuticals' (ARNA) Belviq, the first diet pill approved by the FDA in more than a decade, is finally available to patients Friday -- but some experts are advising people not to bother.

For one thing, Belviq has a host of side effects ranging from dizziness to heart valve problems to painful erections. To make matters worse, patients have to take Belviq for the rest of their lives and it carries a hefty wholesale price of $200 per month. The results achieved by Belviq, which the FDA has approved for adults who are overweight and also suffer from diabetes or other serious medical conditions, are nothing special either. 
"In a study, the average weight loss over the course of a year using Belviq was 3.7% more of a person’s total body weight than the patients on placebo," according to The Los Angeles Times, adding that's a loss of fewer than 10 pounds for a 250-pound person. "That sort of loss could be easily achieved by mild changes in eating and exercise habits."Image: Person on scale (© Purestock/SuperStock)
 
Consumer Reports, which is advising people to take a pass on Belviq, said patients in one trial lost up to 5% of their body weight after 12 months but regained 25% of it by the end of the second year.

For its part, Arena said Belviq has been proven to be safe and effective.

The costs associated with obesity are astounding, some $190 billion a year, or more than 20% of U.S. health care expenditures.

Unfortunately, for many there are no shortcuts to losing weight.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.


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3Comments
Jun 16, 2013 3:21PM
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This author needs to go back and read the specs from the FDA label, Jonathon Berr is 100% inaccurate on this piece.  Also, he needs to read what the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology endorsement says about new "novel" weight lose medication options. 

 

Oh, did I mention that Belviq is a new "Novel" Rx.  The first new "Novel" Obesity Rx approved in 13 years, with "No' REMS.

 

Novel 1

 

Jun 16, 2013 8:29PM
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"For its part, Arena said Belviq has been proven to be safe and effective."

what an ignorant statement. The FDA determined Belviq to be safe and effective.
Jun 16, 2013 8:26PM
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Another author who doesn't know what he's talking about. Either ignorant, uninformed, or yet another shill for hedge funds who are short ARNA and are looking at a billion dollar loss as Arena blows wall street expectations out of the water with stellar performance.

8% completer efficacy / 12% responder efficacy in  a year - excellent safety profile. Poor short sellers. No article is going to help them.

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