Obesity Drug Clears Trial, But Has Limited Effects

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Obesity Drug Clears Trial, But Has Limited Effects

A new drug called lorcaserin, still in a trial stage, is proving to be effective at promoting weight loss without any dangerous side effects. But, some analysts say it isn’t effective enough.

The drug, manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals, is designed to stimulate a receptor in the brain that regulates food intake, reducing hunger and leading to weight loss.

Studies have shown that lorcaserin can stimulate the brain without producing any of the emotional or bodily damage that other obesity drugs caused before being discontinued.

Also, the testing results of this drug currently satisfy the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s standards for approvability. Findings showed that 47 percent of patients who used lorcaserin for one year lost an average of 5.8 percent of their body weight, whereas patients who took a placebo lost a little more than 2 percent.

But the drug’s effect on weight isn’t enough to satisfy analysts at J.P. Morgan or Barclays Capital, who claim that a person could easily accomplish such a negligible amount of weight loss through a year of regular dieting. Consequently, they are bearish on the product, stating that limited effect of the drug could affect its sales.

Arena Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, California, will await the results of another trial, due later this year, before seeking final approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Arena is one of three small drug makers in California currently in the final stages of developing drugs against obesity.

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