The weight-loss drug lorcaserin has been shown to help people suffering from diabetes to lose weight, according to new research. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US recently declined to give their approval for the drug, asking for further information about the incidence of cancer in rat studies and additional data on its effectiveness. The FDA considered lorcaserin’s ability to help weight-loss in previous studies to be marginal.
In this study, the drug, which was developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai from Japa, was tested on a 600 people, with 37.5 per cent of patients that took lorcaserin twice a day achieving at least 5 per cent weight loss, more than double the 16.1 per cent of those who took a placebo .
Lorcaserin patients achieved a 0.9 per cent reduction in the blood sugar benchmark HbA1c, as compared to a 0.4 per cent reduction from a placebo. There was also an improvement in fasting glucose, although no big improvement in fasting insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol or blood pressure was shown.
The findings will be submitted to the FDA, as it meets one of their guidelines for clinical trials of obesity treatments, although Arena may have to conduct further trials, which would delay approval for some time.
There is a lot of competition to bring new weight-loss drugs to market, especially with increasing levels of obesity in many countries, but the FDA are being cautious as such drugs would be expected to be taken by millions of people and for long periods of time.

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