Thursday, November 17, 2016

How Does Lorcaserin Work?

There are five obesity drugs currently on the market that have gained FDA approval for long-term use. These drugs are orlistat, qsymia, contrave, saxenda and lorcaserin. Each one of these drugs can lead to a 5% weight loss. And a 5% weight loss can lead to improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and HbA1c and other metabolic characteristics. While lorcaserin, one of the approved drugs, can lead to a 5% weight loss, it is not known, completely, how the drug causes weight loss.

It is known that lorcaserin activates the serotonin receptor which decreases a person's appetite, causing the person to consume fewer calories. And at least one study looked into what else lorcaserin does as a weight loss agent.

The study was done at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). Over a period of four weeks, 48 subjects were looked at. In the study, which included men and women, half of the subjects were given lorcaserin and the other half were given a placebo. All study subjects were given physical examinations on four occasions during the four-week period. The examination included a physical and blood work. The examination also included brain scans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

In the study, the participants were shown images of desirable food, including onion rings and cake. The participants were also shown less desirable food which included vegetables, and other items that were not food, such as rocks and trees. The brain scans showed that "subjects who had the strongest brain responses to food prior to taking lorcaserin saw the most success with the weight-loss medication."

Indeed, 'Decreases in caloric intake, weight, and BMI were linked to strong responses to food cues in the areas of the brain related to emotion, pleasure and attention prior to taking the weight-loss drug, which suggests that lorcaserin could prove to be of particular benefit to those who eat emotionally."

At any rate, lorcaserin appears to cause weight loss via multiple pathways.


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