by: Diana Davis Updated:ATLANTA —
Another new prescription diet pill will hit the market, starting Tuesday.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Belviq more than a year ago. It’s the newest weight-loss prescription drug of three that have hit the market in recent months.
Patients who tested Belviq lost only a few percentage points more of excess weight than they would have with just diet and exercise -- just under 4 percent of their body weight after a year.
Piedmont Atlanta registered dietitian Lena Beal said the FDA advises patients using Belviq to stop taking it after three months if they fail to lose 5 percent of their body weight. After that time period, they are unlikely to see any significant weight loss by staying on the drug, the FDA said.
“This particular avenue is not an answer and that’s what people have to understand first and foremost. It’s not the answer. It’s not really part of the big answer,” Beal said.
Belviq increases the feeling of fullness and lowers cravings in some patients. It stimulates receptors in the brain.
Studies showed that patients on another weight-loss drug, Qsymia, approved nearly a year ago, lost more weight than those on Belviq. They lost nearly 7 percent of their body weight in one study and nearly 9 percent in another.
As with any drug, some patients taking Belviq had side effects including depression, migraine, headaches and memory lapses. Beal said neither drug is that magic bullet everyone would like.
“You have to look at your relationship to food and then, you have to look at how you are incorporating activity into your daily regimen, because you cannot have successful, meaningful, maintained weight loss without that as the foundation,” she said.
She said experts believe all Americans should exercise about 20 to 30 minutes each day for five days per week.