Excited scientists say the drug could help attack the global obesity epidemic.
Lorcaserin is no fad weight-loss drug, researchers say.
A new study found that the drug which has been dubbed the “holy grail” of weight loss was three times more effective than diet alone, the Daily Mail reported. The trial tested the drug with 12,000 overweight adults in the United States, finding that people on the drug lost an average of 9 pounds 3 ounces in their first year, and that they kept the weight off for at least three years.
Doctors believe the drug is the perfect fit for overweight adults who have difficult losing weight with traditional diet and exercise but are not obese enough to consider weight-loss surgery.
“We have a massive gap between lifestyle modification and surgery,” Jason Halford, an obesity expert at the University of Liverpool, told the Daily Mail. “There is nothing in between.”
Halford said the drug could be widely prescribed for patients in the U.K., and the study found that it could have wide-ranging health befits. Those taking the drug also cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 19 percent and improved a number of other factors, including blood pressure and blood sugar.
It’s not just the United States and U.K. where the drug could have real benefits. As MD Magazine noted, there is a worldwide obesity epidemic with no strong solutions to date. The drug, which had already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has been shown to be effective as “adjunct therapy to reduced-calorie diet and increased physical exercise for patients in need of long-term weight management.”
“As worldwide obesity rates have nearly tripled in the past 4 decades, the discovery of an efficacious, safe weight-loss therapy with no added risk for major cardiovascular events is a crucial development,” the report noted.
The World Health Organization noted that worldwide obesity rates have tripled since 1975, and that more than 650 million adults across the world were now considered obese. There are a number of factors contributing to this rise, the WHO stated.
“Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing, and education,” the organization noted.
Reports noted that Lorcaserin would be particularly effective among middle-aged adults, a period in which the body’s natural ability to regulate appetite weakens and weight loss becomes more difficult.
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