You can read pages of scientific research, google the clinical trials and study the chemical data on a new drug. But when it comes to weight loss medication, nothing can substitute for real life accounts of whether it made a difference. That's why we were intrigued when ABC News recently reported on three dieters who were willing to discuss how a new diet drug, Belviq, has aided their attempts to lose weight.
Belviq ranks as one of the first diet drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in more than 10 years. It suppresses the appetite by targeting the brain's hunger signals.
The three patients willing to offer their insights on how the drug has helped them:
- At 47, Naomi Flores wants to lose 25 pounds. She feels that the drug "has taken away all my cravings."
- At 80, Howard Greenseth has struggled with his weight almost all his life, admitting that "there are few foods I don't like." He admits that he halted his hunger significantly.
- At 51,William Clauson hopes to lose more than 100 pounds. “I forget to eat sometimes. It's now 3 in the afternoon, and I had a half of banana this morning and that's it. And I am not hungry,” said William.
Although the FDA approved Belviq last year, manufacturers waited to market it until June 11, 2013.
“Since then, I've written about 240 prescriptions. I've had some really good responses from my patients who say that they are losing weight without side effects,” said Dr. Steven Vig who practices Internal Medicine in Tucson.
Belviq is designed for those who are obese, which translates has a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 36 percent of Americans are obese.
“The drug is not a fat burner. It doesn’t raise your blood pressure. It doesn’t raise your pulse rate. It doesn’t make you nervous or anxious or give you insomnia. It simply lowers your appetite, decreases your cravings for food, decreases your hunger, you eat less and then you weigh less,” said Dr. Vig.
In contrast to diet drugs that focus on your stomach, Belviq functions as an appetite suppressant in your brain, which Dr. Vig described as "almost like a laser gun going to the appetite center of your brain."
Because this drug does require a prescription, you'll need to talk to your health care provider. In most cases, you'll be asked to try lifestyle changes first. Learn about possible changes to consider:
- Natural appetite suppressants: Learn about Dr. Oz's suggestions by clicking here.
- Cutting down on artificial sweeteners, which have been shown to increase appetite and cravings: Learn more by clicking here.
- Voted as the best diet by experts, the DASH diet is also considered the number one choice by Dr. Oz: learn more by clicking here.