Weight-loss drug Belviq seems safe for heart, study finds

Weight-loss drug Belviq seems safe for heart, study finds

Weight-loss drug Belviq seems safe for heart, study finds

The approach could be "the Holy Grail" in the battle to combat obesity, they said.

Lorcaserin is an appetite suppressant that makes patients feel fuller after eating a meal, according to scientists.

"I think it is the thing everybody has been looking for", he told the Press Association.

Patients taking the weight loss drug, as well as receiving lifestyle counselling, lost an average of 4.3kg in the first year, the researchers claimed. The drug also cut the risk of diabetes by a fifth.

Lorcaserin has been available in the USA for several years under the name Belviq, but it has yet to be approved for use in Europe.

Harvard researchers said their results, presented at the world's largest cardiac conference in Munich, show for the first time a drug can cause consistent and sustained weight loss with no such increased risk.

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Professor Jason Halford, an obesity expert at the University of Liverpool, told the Daily Telegraph that the drug's availability in the United Kingdom depends on whether it is approved by NHS regulators.

Lorcaserin is now being used in the U.S., but has yet to be approved in Europe.

"At the moment you either get support and advice, or you get to surgery - there is nothing in between", he told the Daily Telegraph. It was later made available under the name Belviq in 2013 and cost $220 to $290 (Dh730-Dh1,060) a month.

As well as affecting the heart, there are concerns weight-loss drugs can lead to mental health issues. In the United Kingdom, it would have to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) before it could be prescribed.

Tests for heart valve damage were done on 3,270 participants, but no significant differences in rates were identified. One in every four adults in the United Kingdom are obese, said the NHS.

But experts emphasise the importance of long-term lifestyle changes in achieving effective weight loss.

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