Two New Weight-Loss Drugs Available for Patients with Diabetes

By Talsma, Julia | Drug Topics, November 2013 | Go to article overview

Two New Weight-Loss Drugs Available for Patients with Diabetes


Talsma, Julia, Drug Topics


With the FDA approval and coverage of new prescription weight-loss drugs last year, healthcare professionals have two more options to consider when treating obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009-2010 saw this major public health challenge affect more than one-third of adults and almost 17% of children and adolescents.

Obesity places individuals at increased risk for several chronic diseases, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Weight loss in patients with diabetes has been associated with improved glycémie control and improved lipid profiles.

Although healthcare professionals have counseled patients about diet and exercise as the main approach for weight reduction, some patients continue to struggle and may seek alternative methods beyond caloric restriction and the treadmill.

Lorcaserin approval

In June 2012, FDA approved lorcaserin (Belviq, Arena Pharmaceuticals/Eisai), a serotonin 2C receptor agonist, indicated as an adjunct to diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in overweight or obese adult patients who have at least one weight-related comorbidity (e.g., hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes). This was the first weightloss treatment approved in 13 years, since FDA approved orlistat a reversible inhibitor of gastrointestinal lipases.

Lorcaserin was approved on the basis of data from three randomized, doubleblind, placebo-controlled trials lasting from 52 to 104 weeks. At one year, approximately 47% of patients without diabetes in studies 1 and 2 lost s5% body weight and approximately 22% achieved a loss of 10% body weight or more. In the third study, 37.5% of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus lost s5% body weight and about 16% achieved a loss of 10% body weight or more.

"The average weight loss at one year from baseline ranged from 3% to 3.7% for patients taking lorcaserin," wrote Elizabeth M. Kelly, PharmD, and colleagues in the October issue of the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Safety concerns outlined in lorcaserin's prescribing information include serotonin syndrome, valvular heart disease, cognitive impairment, psychiatric disorders, hypoglycemia, heart rate decreases, hematological changes, and moderate prolactin elevation.

Phentermine/topiramate approval

In July 2012, FDA approved another prescription weight-loss drug, phentermine/topiramate extended-release capsules (Qsymia, Vivus), a combination of a sympathomimetic amine anorectic and an antiepileptic drug, to be used as an adjunct to diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adult patients who are obese or overweight and have at least one weightrelated comorbidity (e. …

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Two New Weight-Loss Drugs Available for Patients with Diabetes
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