New Weight Loss Drug Belviq Approved By FDA

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved the anti-obesity pill Belviq, the first such prescription drug for long-term weight loss to be approved in years.

Despite only achieving relatively modest weight loss in clinical studies, the drug appeared safe enough to win the FDA's endorsement, according to reports.

The agency cleared the pill Wednesday for adults who are obese or are overweight with at least one medical complication, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.

Weight Loss

The FDA denied approval for Arena Pharmaceuticals' drug in 2010 after scientists raised concerns about tumors that developed in animals studied with the drug.

The company resubmitted the drug with additional data earlier this year, and the FDA said there was little risk of tumors in humans, so it got the nod.

With U.S. obesity rates nearing 35 percent of the adult population, many doctors have called on the FDA to approve new weight loss medication ASAP.

But a long line of prescription weight loss offerings have been associated with safety problems, including those linked to problems like heart valve damage.

In a rare move, the FDA explicitly stated in a press release that Belviq "does not appear to activate" a chemical pathway that was linked to heart problems.

The FDA says the drug acts on a different chemical pathway in the brain, which is believed to reduce appetite by boosting feelings of satiety and fullness.

Belviq is one of three experimental weight-loss drugs whose developers have been trying again to win approval, after the FDA nixed them in 2010-2011.

No word if Kim Kardashian is eyeing a Belviq endorsement deal.

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