The pill will be available to those who are classified as obese, those who have a BMI over 30 .
“Obesity threatens the overall well-being of patients and is a major public health concern,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “The approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition.”
The drug’s makers, Arena Pharmaceuticals, tried and failed to get the drug approved by the FDA in 2010. At the time, the FDA cited heart-valvue and brain and breast tumor development in lab rats that were given the drug.
However, ABC News stated, “New studies by Arena Pharmaceuticals found no increased risk of heart valve problems and only a small risk of cancer. And in May 2012, an FDA panel voted 18 to four to approve the drug, stating the benefits of Belviq outweigh the potential risks when used in a population of overweight and obese people.”
Belviq users lost an average of 17 to 18 pounds. The pill works by activating a receptor in the brain that make you feel full, therefore suppressing your appetite, though the pill doesn’t do all the work. Pill users are expected to follow a diet and exercise routine to maximize the drug’s benefits.
“The most common side effects of Belviq are headache, nausea and dizziness. And people taking Belviq were twice as likely to have neuropsychiatric and cognitive side effects,” ABC News reported.