Seeing as Belviq is FDA approved, you would like to assume that it works and that it’s safe. While there must be some strong evidence behind the effectiveness of Belviq for it to have earned its status as an approved and licensed medication in the States, there still seems to be an awful lot of sources out there trying to persuade us otherwise.
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Internet searches for this drug quickly turn up a cacophony of reliable sources all warning consumers away from trying Belviq, even in cases where the doctor recommends it. With so much fuss and conspiracy buzzing around this product, it’s worth us taking a more in-depth look at Belviq.
This could be interesting.
What is Belviq?
Belviq is an FDA-approved medication. This product should only ever be taken once it has been prescribed by a medical professional due to its status as a licensed medication.
Belviq was approved for use by individuals who possess a BMI greater than 30. Eligible patients must be at least 27 years of age and have at least one comorbidity related to their weight (for example high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol).
Belviq's active ingredient is Lorcaserin [1,2], which is a serotonin, 2C agonist. For those of you with medical knowledge, it should already be pretty evident as to what Belviq is going to do, but for the rest of us, an explanation is required.
The mechanism of the drug's action is not fully understood but it is clear that decreased food consumption and promotion of satiety levels are brought about by the compound. This happens through selective activation of 5-HT2C receptors in a neutron located in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Serotonin is a chemical released by the brain to make you feel happy. Serotonin receptors exist in the stomach as well as the brain and the release of serotonin plays a huge role in appetite control. This is why you often lose your appetite when you’re excited and why SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) used to treat depression can cause people to lose weight.
Belviq is normally prescribed at a dosage of two 10mg tablets per day. It is advised that this medication is taken alongside a low calories diet and an exercise program. Even if this medication does work, it is still by no means a magic-fix and some effort and adherence to a healthier lifestyle are required by patients.
It is recommended that once taking the drug, a patient should stay on Belviq for life in order to successfully maintain a healthy weight. The idea of living a lifetime medicated is not appealing to many, so this should be discussed and considered carefully by a patient before Belviq is prescribed .
Does it Work?
Clinical trials have evidently had to have taken place  in order for Belviq to gains its FDA approval. On the grounds of this alone, it’s doing better than the high majority of run-of-the-mill weight loss supplements you can purchase online.
In a trial conducted on a sample of 8000 overweight and obese patients, it was found that, on average, trial participants taking Belviq lost 3-7% of their total body weight within a 12 week period.
Roughly 47% of non-diabetic patients who consumed the drug for the duration of the trial lost at least 5% of their total body weight by the end of the trial period, compared to 23% of those patients in the comparable control group .
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted that a loss of 5-10% of total body weight is able to provide an individual with significant health benefits such as improved blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and better blood sugar control .
It is stated that if you do not lose 5% of your body weight within the first 12 weeks of Belviq usage, it is likely that this medication is not for you. Your medical practitioner should review your medication and find something better suited.
It might seem odd that after all the positive results turned out by research trials that it is still possible for Belviq to simply not work for some patients. This might be due to Belviq's mechanism of action.
The drug is designed to make you feel fuller for longer after consuming less food. In other words, Belviq is an appetite suppressant. Unfortunately, for some people, less appetite does not always mean less eating. People over-eat for a number of reasons, and if you are an individual who eats for reasons other than hunger (this is often termed as ‘comfort eating’), it is unlikely that Belviq will work as well as it is designed to.
Despite this pitfall, most of the information we’ve found about Belviq so far seems to have an overall positive ring to it. So why are there so many examples of people and companies discouraging the use of this weight loss drug?
The FDA state that the common side effects of Belviq include:
- Dry Mouth
- Painful Erections
And in diabetes…
- Low Blood Sugar
- Back pain
- A cough
This list might seem disturbingly extensive, but it needs to be kept in mind that reading the back of any medication or supplement (and even a high majority of beauty products) will turn up a similar list of rare and unfortunate adverse reactions.
It is generally quite unlikely that this list alone is the reason so many people seem averse to using Belviq, although this list of side effects is definitely worth discussing with your doctor before you decide to take the medication.
In the early stages of testing, researchers involved in Belviq trials become concerned about an association of the drug with cardiac issues. The FDA did later disprove these worries and it was concluded that Belviq is unlikely to cause the heart valve problems that researchers were so concerned about. However, Belviq is yet to be tested extensively on patients with pre-existing vascular heart disease. The FDA therefore still recommends that the drug is used “especially cautiously” in those patients with congestive heart failure [8,9,10].
Additionally, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, some concerns have arisen regarding the risk of psychiatric and psychological problems being linked to Belviq dosing – especially in patients who might already be on certain medications (e.g. Migraine medications and SSRIs). There is a potential for Belviq users to experience serotonin syndrome, and Lorcaserin has also been known to cause a disturbance in memory.
Practicalities and Market Alternatives
The cost of Belviq is a difficult one to effectively sum up, as it is meant to be offered on a prescription basis.
First thing's first, if you are offered black-market weight loss drugs, the answer is always ‘No’. There is a good reason why these substances are classified as medication and need to be approved by a qualified doctor, not to mention the fact that you never really know what you’re getting when you buy pills from an unreputable source.
At the recommended dosage of 2 pills a day, you will require 60 pills per month. Before getting into the pricing details, recall that it is recommended that Belviq is used as a life-long medication – do you really want to be spending this for that long?
The cost of Belviq will vary depending on your insurance coverage. If the medication is covered by insurance, Belviq will cost you around $2 a day ($60 a month). If there is no coverage, the cost will be close to $3.20 a day ($96 a month).
This is quite a high price point, but seeing as the science behind Belviq is sound, it is worthwhile spending your money on this rather than a slightly cheaper supplement you’ve located with your search engine.
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Belviq is a real weight loss medication with the scientific research to prove it. It might be expensive, but it is meant to be obtained on a prescription basis, meaning medical insurance can often assist with the cost.
Belviq is highly likely to work in exactly the way it claims it will. This doesn’t mean it will be effective at initiating weight loss in every patient, but problems are more likely down to the individuals' lifestyle than the drug itself.
If Belviq if offered to you by your medical practitioner and you wish to try it – do so! Although there are some negative reports surrounding this drug, it would never have reached the marketable status it has today if it was considered to be dangerous.
It might be worth proceeding with caution, however. Belviq is highly likely to be effective and safe for most people – but remain vigilant!
Smith, Steven R., et al. “Multicenter, placebo-controlled trial of lorcaserin for weight management.” New England Journal of Medicine 363.3 (2010): 245-256.
Fidler, Meredith C., et al. “A one-year randomized trial of lorcaserin for weight loss in obese and overweight adults: the BLOSSOM trial.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 96.10 (2011): 3067-3077.
 Apovian, Caroline M., et al. “Pharmacological management of obesity: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 100.2 (2015): 342-362.
 Yanovski, Susan Z., and Jack A. Yanovski. “Long-term drug treatment for obesity: a systematic and clinical review.” Jama311.1 (2014): 74-86.
 Chan, E. W., et al. “Efficacy and safety of lorcaserin in obese adults: a meta‐analysis of 1‐year randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and narrative review on short‐term RCTs.” obesity reviews 14.5 (2013): 383-392.
Esposito, Katherine, et al. “Effect of weight loss and lifestyle changes on vascular inflammatory markers in obese women: a randomized trial.” Jama 289.14 (2003): 1799-1804.
 Smith, Steven R., et al. “Lorcaserin (APD356), a selective 5‐HT2C agonist, reduces body weight in obese men and women.” Obesity 17.3 (2009): 494-503.
Thomsen, William J., et al. “Lorcaserin, a novel selective human 5-hydroxytryptamine2C agonist: in vitro and in vivo pharmacological characterization.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 325.2 (2008): 577-587.
Azebu, Lauren M. “The FDA's Risk/Benefit Calculus in the Approvals of Qsymia and Belviq: Treating an Obesity Epidemic While Avoiding Another Fen-Phen.” Food & Drug LJ69 (2014): 87.
Wolfe, Sidney M. “When EMA and FDA decisions conflict: differences in patients or in regulation?.” BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online) 347 (2013).
Steven has researched over 500 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. He has also worked with nutritionists specializing in weight loss while coaching people on how to transform their physiques and live healthy lives.