Sunday, January 5, 2014

Two Potential Weight Loss Drugs: Victoza and Beloranib

The FDA has approved several obesity drugs over the past sixty years. Some of the drugs were approved for short term use, and some were approved for use long term. Some of these drugs were found to have serious side effects, and taken off the market. Two new drugs, Belviq and Qsymia, were approved by the FDA in 2012. And a third drug, Contrave, produced by Orexigen Therapeutics, is expected to be approved within a year or so. However, two drugs, Victoza and Beloranib, are also receiving attention as potential weapons in the weight loss battle.

Denmark based Novo Nordisk is the maker of Victoza (liraglutide), an analog of GLP-1. Novo Nordisk has been investigating the drug as a weight loss treatment. Liraglutide is already approved by the FDA as a type 2 diabetes treatment, gaining the approval in 2010.

Novo Nordisk feels that the FDA’s approval of Qsymia and Belviq presents an opportunity for other weight loss drugs. And because of positive phase lll trial results "that demonstrate liraglutide can reduce a person's weight by 8 per cent over a 56-week period," Novo Nordisk is expected to begin filling for approval in the EU and the U.S. in 2014.

Massachusetts based Zafgen has "released phase 2 data ... showing that its obesity drug Beloranib was capable of helping patients lose 24 pounds or about 10.8% of their body weight after just 12 weeks on the highest dose of the drug."

So Zafgen's drug results are more impressive than those of Vivus' drug Qsymia or Orexigen's drug Belviq. Qsymia and Belviq usage resulted in a weight loss of 5.8% to 9.8% over a period of a year. (Contrave and Victoza usage produced similar results.)

While Victoza and Beloranib are receiving attention as weight loss drugs, there is one thing that may limit their use: They are both injected, while the other approved weight loss drugs are taken orally. Still, Victoza and Beloranib could be important additions to the weight loss arsenal. And obesity medicine specialists might want to these drugs' progress.

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