Study: Weight-loss drug Belviq seems safe for heart
For the first time, a drug has been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off for several years without raising their risk for heart problems – a safety milestone that may encourage wider use to help curb the obesity epidemic.
The drug, Belviq, has been sold in the U.S. since 2013 and is the first of several new weight-loss medicines to succeed in a long-term heart safety study now required by federal regulators to stay on the market.
“Patients and their doctors have been nervous about using drugs to treat obesity and for good reason. There’s a history of these drugs having serious complications,” said study leader Dr. Erin Bohula of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
With this study, Belviq has been convincingly shown safe for the heart, she said.
Although Belviq did not raise heart risks, it didn’t lower them either, as many had hoped it would. The weight loss it produced was fairly modest – after 40 months, Belviq users had shed 9 pounds, twice as much as those on dummy pills. It may be that weight loss alone is not enough to lower heart risks, or that there needs to be more to do that, some doctors said.
Results were discussed Sunday and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.