Belviq is one of the newer medications to obtain FDA approval to help with weight loss in patients who are overweight with medical issues or obese. Unlike some of the other medications recently approved, this is a new medication entirely, not a combination of older medications like Qsymia or Contrave. The generic name is lorcaserin and it has been FDA approved since 2012.
What is unique about Belviq is that it doesn’t “speed you up” in any way, as its mechanism of action is totally different than say phentermine or Qsymia. Instead of stimulating your sympathetic nervous system (the same part of your nervous system that is activated when you are excited, such as just before a big business meeting or a big sporting event), it increases activity of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. In fact, it specifically stimulates a receptor in your brain that serotonin attaches to that signals the feeling of satiety or fullness.
In the BLOSSOM study which helped Belviq obtain FDA approval, the group taking Belviq lost more weight than the group taking a placebo. Approximately 50% of the patients on Belviq lost 5% of their total body weight…so for someone who weighs 250 lbs, they lost at least 12.5 lbs. About 25% of the patients taking Belviq lost > 10% of their body weight, or in the case of the above example, about 25 lbs. It is important to understand that in the study, the patients were not on an intense weight loss regimen such as what we offer at Vive, rather they were given some basic dietary advice on reducing calories.
The BLOOM study showed similar results but also showed improvements in diabetic patients. These patients not only lost weight but saw improvements in measures such as blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c. These patients also saw improvements in blood pressure and there were no major side effects.
Belviq is taken twice daily with or without food. Common initial side effects included headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. These were minor and in most cases were not severe enough to have patients stop the medication. The manufacturer of the Belviq is offering a free two week trial to see if this medication is right for you. If you are interested in trying Belviq, please make a consultation with Dr. Pinto to determine if you are a candidate for the medication. If you are already a patient in our practice, please bring up your interest at your next appointment.