Lorcaserin linked to weight loss, maintenance

The use of lorcaserin, along with behavioral modification, is associated with weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance compared with placebo, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, HealthDay News reported.

The use of lorcaserin, along with behavioral modification, is associated with weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance compared with placebo, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, HealthDay News reported.

Steven R. Smith, MD, of the Florida Hospital in Winter Park, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,182 overweight or obese adults randomly assigned to receive the selective serotonin 2C receptor agonist lorcaserin or placebo twice daily for 52 weeks, along with diet and exercise counseling. For another year, the treatment group randomly received the drug or placebo, and the placebo group continued to receive placebo.

The researchers found that at 1 year more patients in the lorcaserin group had lost at least 5% of their body weight (47.5% versus 20.3%). Among individuals in the treatment group who lost at least 5% of their baseline weight, more who continued the drug during the second year maintained their loss than those on placebo during the second year (67.9% vs 50.3%). The drug was not associated with an increased rate of cardiac valvulopathy, and rates of serious adverse events were similar in the groups.

“The justification for using lorcaserin to manage obesity is not greater efficacy than currently available drugs, but rather an apparently much better safety and adverse-event profile and very clear-cut beneficial effects on risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Where lorcaserin will fit into the management of obesity remains to be seen,” wrote the author of an accompanying editorial.

The study was supported by Arena Pharmaceuticals, employer of several co-authors.