No new weight loss drug has been approved by the FDA for the past 13 years. Now however approval of a new weight loss drug called Belviq from Arena Pharmaceuticals has been given following pressure from health care experts to tackle the obesity epidemic.
First weight loss drug to be approved in 13 years
With about two thirds of the American population being overweight, there the pressure on the FDA to tackle the problem has been increasing. The health care costs have consistently risen over the past years along with the weight of individuals – obesity is responsible for $190 billion in annual U.S. medical costs.
Getting approvals for weight loss drugs has been very difficult in due to the dangerous side effects that so many of these drugs are known to produce. One instance is that of the weight loss drug fen-phen that was known to cause dangerous side effects and was recalled from the market in 1997.
There appears to be a shift in the perception here – whereas there is seen to be risk associated with weight loss drugs, this risk seems to be outweighed by the risks that obesity itself poses. According to Simos Simeonidis, analyst from Cowen and Co, even with the risks, it is important to help people lose weight because obesity is a very serious risk in itself.
How Belviq works
The drug works by blocking appetite signals to the brain so that one eats smaller meals and feels fuller even after eating less food. It is a drug meant to be used by those who are considered obese (BMI over 30) or those who have a BMI of over 27 and have a chronic condition such as hypertension, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes.
Manufacturing problems with dietary supplements
Apart from the known side effects of a weight loss drug or dietary supplement, there are other factors that the buying public needs to beware of: manufacturing problems. Supplements including muscle building supplements, calcium and vitamin supplements and others could all face this problem.
Because of these manufacturing problems people can face serious side effects and illnesses.
While some companies don’t have the master manufacturing records for their products other companies have problems such as unsanitary manufacturing facilities. FDA inspections have revealed many violations of manufacturing practices and 1 in 4 companies have received warning letters in the past few years.