Breakthrough twice-a-day slimming pill can help people lose weight and keep it off for several years
Breakthrough ‘holy grail’ slimming pill can help people lose weight and keep it off for several years
- A pill has been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off for several years
- And now without raising their risk for heart problems, a new study claims
- The safety milestone may encourage wider use to help curb obesity epidemic
A breakthrough slimming pill has been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off for several years – and without raising their risk for heart problems.
Those using the drug lost three times as much weight as slimmers who just tried dieting and exercise, a milestone trial found.
Lorcaserin was hailed as the most effective weight-loss pill so far as it could help two out of three adults with weight problems, experts suggest.
The drug, which cut the risk of diabetes by a fifth, could be the ‘Holy Grail’ option in the battle against the obesity epidemic, they added.
A breakthrough slimming pill has been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off for several years – and without raising their risk for heart problems
US research on the slimming-pill, also known as Belviq, found that 39 per cent of those taking the drug lost at least five percent of their starting weight in one year.
Researchers tested the drug in a study of 12,000 people who were either obese or overweight with heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.
After 40 months, Belviq users had shed nine pounds (4 kilograms), twice as much as those on dummy pills.
And more than three years after the trial began, they had kept the weight off, the study found.
Experts said the drug was an ‘important milestone’ following decades of failed attempts to develop effective diet medication, reported the Telegraph.
Until now, slimming drugs have had little success or shown to have safety concerns, especially regarding potential dangers to the heart.
Yet Harvard researchers said their results show for the first time that a slimming drug can cause sustained weight loss with no such increased risk.
‘Patients and their doctors have been nervous about using drugs to treat obesity and for good reason,’ said study leader Dr. Erin Bohula of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
‘There’s a history of these drugs having serious complications,’ yet with this study, Belviq has been convincingly shown safe for the heart, she said.
Belviq, which has been sold in the United States since 2013, is the first of several new weight-loss medicines to complete a long-term heart safety study now required by federal regulators to stay on the market.
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It is hoped that the safety milestone will encourage wider use to help curb the obesity epidemic.
Worldwide, 13 per cent of adults are obese and 39 per cent are overweight, raising their risk for a host of health problems.
Diet and exercise are the first steps doctors recommend, but medicines also can be considered for people with dangerously high weight who cannot drop enough pounds by other means.
Professor Jason Halford, an obesity expert at the University of Liverpool, said millions of Britons could be helped by the drug if it was to be given the go-ahead by NHS watchdogs.
‘At the moment you either get support and advice, or you get to surgery – there is nothing in between,’ he said.
Tam Fry, from the National Obesity said the new approach was the ‘Holy Grail’ of anti-obesity medication.
So far the only weight-loss drug currently available on the NHS is orlistat. This stops fat being absorbed into the body.
Belviq, also know as lorcaserin, has been sold in the United States since 2013 and is the first of several new weight-loss medicines to complete a long-term heart safety study now required by federal regulators to stay on the market
The new approach is around twice as effective at helping people lose weight than orlistat, findings suggest.
Several popular diet medicines were previously withdrawn from sale after they were found to raise the risk for heart valve damage, suicidal thoughts or other problems, prompting the new requirement for heart safety studies.
Belviq is an appetite suppressant that works by stimulating brain chemicals to give a feeling of fullness. It costs roughly £171 ($220) to £226 ($290) a month in the United States.
Results of the study were discussed Sunday at a European Society of Cardiology meeting in Munich and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
Belviq’s maker, Eisai Inc., sponsored the study and many of the researchers consult or work for the company.
Yet while Belviq did not raise heart risks, it didn’t lower them either, as many had hoped it would.
In a commentary, two of the journal’s editors, Drs. Julie Inglefinger and Clifford Rosen, said there might be alternatives to Belviq.
Liraglutide, when used to treat diabetes, also causes weight loss and lowers heart risks, though it hasn’t been tested for cardiac safety at the dose used for weight loss.
For now, Belviq ‘may be best used on a cautious basis, according to the needs of individual patients,’ they write.
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