WASHINGTON – Starting Tuesday, a new weight-loss drug is available at your local pharmacy.
But if you’re just looking to drop a few pounds, it’s probably not for you.
The drug called Belviq (“bell-VEEK”) is only meant for two groups of people: Those who are obese, and those who are overweight and have a serious weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure.
It’s supposed to be used along with a diet and exercise program and it works by effectively tricking your brain.
“This drug has an unusual mechanism of action for a diet drug. It acts on serotonin receptors in the brain. Those are neurotransmitters,” Dr. Holly Phillips tells CBS This Morning.
“It makes you feel full, and hence you eat less and then we see the weight loss.”
The drug maker’s studies show the average weight loss for people without diabetes was 5.8 percent versus an average weight loss of 2.5 percent for patients on a placebo.
“This is not a miracle cure for obesity, but we have to look at it from a health perspective,” says Phillips.
“If you lose 5 percent of your body weight and you are obese, it can truly benefit your health. You can require less medication for diabetes, your knees can benefit, your cholesterol, your heart,” she says.
As with any drug, there can be side effects.
Some people who have taken Belviq have reported heart valve problems, slowed thinking and hallucinations among other things.
Read more about the medication on Eisai’s website.
This story has been modified to correct the average weight lost on Belviq, per the drug maker’s findings.