Why Does Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s Obesity Drug Have Abuse Potential?

Published: May 13, 2013

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Lorcaserin, brand name Belviq (pronounced BEL-VEEK), is conditionally approved in the U.S. for chronic weight management in obese or overweight adults when used together with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise. Lorcaserin affords a 3.0 to 3.7 percent weight-loss in one year relative to beyond that with placebo when used at the recommended dose. The drug acts by stimulating the brain’s serotonin 5-HT2C* receptor subtype, an important mediator of appetite as well as mood and cognition. This week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency assigned lorcaserin to Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act (full PDF here), effective June 7, 2013. Schedule IV is on the weaker end of the five controlled substances classifications and is reserved for drugs with some low potential for abuse and dependence.

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