Belviq Side Effects: Headache, Serotonin Syndrome, Low Blood Sugar

Belviq Side Effects: Headache, Low Blood Sugar, Fatigue, and More. What are the side effects of Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride), a drug manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals of Switzerland for obese and overweight adults?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which recently approved the drug, the most common Belviq side effects are as follows: headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation, and in diabetic patients are low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), headache, back pain, cough, and fatigue.

A less common but a serious side effect of the drug is serotonin syndrome and, according to the FDA, it may also cause “disturbances in attention or memory”.

The probability that a patient will exhibit serotonin syndrome increases if he/she also takes medicines, such as those used to treat depression or migraine, that increase serotonin levels or activates his/her serotonin receptors.

belviq side effects

Serotonin syndrome is potentially deadly so you should contact your doctor immediately if any of the following symptoms manifest: agitation, diarrhea, heavy sweating not due to activity, fever, mental status changes such as confusion or hypomania, muscle spasms (myoclonus), overactive reflexes (hyperreflexia), shivering, tremor, uncoordinated movements (ataxia).

Can anybody with weight issues use Belviq? The answer is NO! The drug is only approved for:

  • a) obese adults (i.e., those with a body mass index or BMI of 30 or greater).
  • b) adults with BMI of 27 or greater (i.e., overweight adults) AND have at least one weight-related health issue such as high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia).

The drug is not approved for children whether they be obese or overweight. It’s also not meant for overweight adults who don’t exhibit any weight-related health condition.

Can pregnant women take in Belviq? No, no, and NO!

How does Belviq work? What the drug does is activate the serotonin 2C receptor in a person’s brain. When this is activated, a person is more likely to feel full after eating fewer amounts of food hence he/she will eat less.

How effective is Belviq? Before approving the drug, the FDA looked at three randomized, placebo-controlled trials that saw the participation of about 8,000 obese and overweight patients (with and without type 2 diabetes) who had treatment for a period of anywhere from 52 to 104 weeks. The pertinent results show the following:

About 47 percent of patients without type 2 diabetes lost at least 5 percent of their body weight. This is much higher than the 23 percent of patients treated with placebo who lost at least 5 percent of their body weight.

Among people with type 2 diabetes, about 38 percent of patients treated with Belviq lost at least 5 percent of their body weight. The figure for those who were treated with placebo is much lower at 16%.

What should a person do if he/she is not losing weight despite his/her Belviq medication? From the FDA news release:

“The approved labeling for Belviq recommends that the drug be discontinued in patients who fail to lose 5 percent of their body weight after 12 weeks of treatment, as these patients are unlikely to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss with continued treatment.”

So it is important to note that not all those who use the drug will end up losing weight. It must also be be underscored that participants of the trials mentioned above didn’t just take in either Belviq or placebo but, in fact, also “received lifestyle modification that consisted of a reduced calorie diet and exercise counseling”.

In other words, weight loss drugs alone are unlikely to make us lose weight if there is no accompanying change in our lifestyle. In fact, for us here at Health Side Effects, living a healthier lifestyle is the better way of losing weight compared to jamming medicine into our system.

Belviq Side Effects: Headache, Low Blood Sugar, Fatigue, Serotonin Syndrome posted 28 June 2012. Last update on 28 June 2012.

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