Study Finds This Drug to Be Safe (and Effective!) for Long-Term Weight Loss

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With all the drugs available that help aid in weight loss, it can be tricky to navigate the market to find ones that not only help you lose weight, but also keep it off. Not to mention how hard it can be to find ones that are proven to be safe.

Enter: Belviq—a drug that that’s been sold in the U.S. since 2013 but has just been proven to help people lose weight and keep it off all without raising a risk for heart issues. This is the first of many new weight-loss safety studies that companies are now federally required to participate in if the drugs want to stay on the market.

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"Patients and their doctors have been nervous about using drugs to treat obesity and for good reason," study leader, Dr. Erin Bohula, said. "There’s a history of these drugs having serious complications."

For the study, researchers examined 12,000 people who were obese or overweight with high blood pressure or cholesterol. Along with taking Belviq or dummy pills twice a day, participants were also given diet and lifestyle advice.

They found that, after over three years, people on Belviq lost about nine pounds, which was twice as much as those on the placebo. After a year, 39 percent of Belviq users lost five percent of their starting weight compared to the 17 percent of nonusers.

At the start of the study, many had hoped to find that Belviq would lower the risk of heart issues, but they found that heart issues simply remained unaffected.

With all of the upsides, there were some negative side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, nausea and headaches. Thirteen people on Belviq experienced dangerously low blood sugar compared to only four on the dummy pill.

These promising results from Belviq are an exciting start to fight obesity. Finding a drug that's both safe and effective can be difficult, which is why these new, federally required studies are complete game changers for the industry. 

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