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Eisai's weight loss drug lorcaserin found safe in major study

Published on 28/08/18 at 12:14pm

Eisai’s weight loss drug lorcaserin does not increase people’s risk of major cardiovascular events according to a study of 12,000 overweight and obese patients.

The study, which was funded by Eisai, tracked participants, all of whom had therosclerotic cardiovascular disease or multiple risk factors for heart disease, who were taking either lorcaserin or a placebo.  

The study found that there was no difference in the combined risk of heart disease between people taking lorcaserin and those taking a dummy pill.

The outcome was seen in 2.0% of those taking lorcaserin and 2.1% of those in the control group. Meanwhile 4.1% of those taking lorcaserin and 4.2% of those taking a dummy pill experienced heart failure, hospitalization for chest pain or the need to reopen clogged arteries in the heart.

At the one year mark 38.7% of those taking lorcaserin and just 17.4% of those taking the dummy pill had lost at least 5% of their body weight.  Meanwhile 14.6% of those taking lorcaserin and 4.8%of placebo patients lost 10% or more of their bodyweight.

The drug sold under the brand name Belviq costs around $280 each month.

However it was noted that “As in other reports on its use, the side effects of headache, fatigue, dizziness, diarrhoea and nausea led to twice the number of discontinuations in the lorcaserin group as in the placebo group, although the total rates of discontinuation were similar in the two groups.”

Louis Goss

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