Diet pills have always commanded attention. When news of a safe and effective diet pill comes along, there's obviously some skecpticism - but maybe that view is not always warranted.Arena Pharmaceuticals' Lorcaserin is one of three drugs that are boosting hope for a new generation of more effective weight-loss medicines. On Thursday, it received a Food and Drug Administration review.Yahoo! News provides more information on the results:The study involved more that 3,100 obese or overweight people given either the drug or dummy pills.After a year, nearly 48 percent of the lorcaserin group had lost at least 5 percent of their body weight about 13 pounds on average. Just 20 percent of the placebo group lost that much weight.Only about half of those in the study stuck with it a year. That's not unusual; diet studies typically have lots of dropouts. But more of the people on lorcaserin stayed in than those on placebo, suggesting that side effects were not a problem.A second phase of the study began after one year with the original participants who remained. Those on dummy pills kept taking them, while the people on lorcaserin were assigned either to keep getting it or to switch to dummy pills. Neither they nor their doctors knew which treatment they were receiving.
Of those in the lorcaserin group who had lost at least 5 percent of their body weight in the first year of the study, about 68 percent who kept taking the drug kept the weight off, versus 50 percent of those switched to dummy pills.
Except for headaches and dizziness, side effects were essentially no worse with the drug than placebo. There was no higher rate of heart valve problems a key concern. However, larger studies are needed to conclusively rule out this risk.
Researchers will continue to review Lorcaserin. While initial reports and research show little to no effect on heart health, weight loss pills and diet drugs have been known to cause complications.