Why Lorcaserin And Other Weight Loss Drugs Fail To Deliver

Lorcaserin and Cancer Risk?

But it wasn’t just breast cancer. Rats also developed tumors of the nerve tissue, brain, and skin. This is very significant as humans who took the drug may also develop such diseases later in life. Obesity already increases cancer risk among susceptible populations. Drugs such as lorcaserin could inadvertently increase cancer risk even further. So you can see there is a reason to be cautious about this particular drug considering the risk of multiple cancers that have been linked to it.

This Is Your Brain on Drugs?

Lorcaserin also has a tendency to affect judgment and other cognitive abilities. Some patients reported difficulty with memory, recognition and concentration. Even more disconcerting, as noted in the FDA lorcaserin review appendices, other patients reported depression and suicidal thoughts. Some of those patients did not even have a reported history of depression prior to enrolling in the lorcaserin drug program.

To me, just reading the online version of the FDA review, these side effects stood out as a huge red flag. Considering the fact that in order for the drug to be effective it had to be taken on a regular basis, prolonged use of lorcaserin may have impaired ability to make complex decisions, performance of task, and sense of well-being. That becomes a rather remarkable unintended negative side effect which could have long-term adverse consequences for life, work, and recreational activities.

How Effective Is Lorcaserin for Weight Loss?

Although lorcaserin was effective helping a number of patients lose weight (greater than or equal to 5 percent body weight was lost), it still performed only slightly better than the weight loss achieved by those taking placebo. Put another way, people who did not even take the weight loss drug lost almost as much weight as those who took lorcaserin.

For those who lost weight while taking the weight loss drug, it is difficult to ascertain whether other possible contributing factors including weight loss counseling, adhering to a reduced calorie diet, maintaining a food and activity diary, and exercise – all of which were part of the study program could have had a greater effect on the weight loss results than the drug itself.

It’s very important to point out that a considerable number of patients did not complete the phase 3 trials and it is unknown whether or not they were successful in losing weight and maintaining weight loss.

lorcaserin weight loss scalePerhaps Arena Pharmaceuticals can try again. But there’s something that we all need to think about. The major problem of weight loss drugs is that people who want to take medications for weight loss are also more inclined to seek out an easy fix for their problems.

Weight loss products often fail to attack the root of the problem: commitment. The majority of people with weight problems are less committed to taking long-term steps to change their lifestyle in favor of improved health. It is easy to start out fast and strong when you’re first out of the gate, but eventually most people are going to experience a weight loss plateau.

This is perfectly natural, but it can be very frustrating and some people can be so discouraged that they fall back into old habits. Even taking the lorcaserin weight loss drug required a commitment; patients had to take it every day so in order for it to continue to be effective for appetite suppression.

And that’s just taking a few moments each day to take one’s meds. Think how much more one has to do if he/she is going to lose weight. Selecting healthy foods, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep, etc. This can be annoying and bothersome for people who have grown so accustomed to the habits and behaviors that led to their weight problem that they may not be willing to do those things long-term.

What are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want?

Guys, if you want to wear 31 inch jeans and get the V taper, are you able to give up that six-pack of beer?

Women who dream of having the sexy bikini body, it won’t happen unless you’re prepared to give up something in your diet or lifestyle.


I hold a degree from one of the top ranked research universities in the United States. I am the administrator and publisher of Living Fit, Healthy and Happy which is a family-friendly health and wellness website with articles on fitness, anti-aging, obesity, diabetes, eating disorders, cardiovascular health and many other health related issues. Publishing fitness and healthy living blogs is my way of getting the word out to the public about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. So on Living Fit, Healthy and Happy I write articles using the pen name "healthy_blogging". I also re-publish the articles of other authors whom I deem to have scientific merit and serve the public interest. In my free time, I enjoy physical fitness, outdoor activities, reading of fiction and nonfiction material, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.

12 thoughts on “Why Lorcaserin And Other Weight Loss Drugs Fail To Deliver

  • November 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Lactulose is a potent laxative. There will be diarrhea, but that is to be expected. Normal side effects are bloating, belly cramps, etc. For patients in advanced kidney failure, things get a bit tricky, as diarrhea means excretion of potassium. Because of that hypokalemia )low potassium) and hypernatremia (high sodium) can ensue. These electrolytes need to be measured carefully in such patients and whoever prescribed the lactulose must know that patient has these health problems. Hope that helps…

  • October 28, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Hello Jarret and Doug,

    I’m excited by all the buzz that my article has been generating. It’s an important topic and I’m happy for the opportunity to guest post here and that so many people find the article informative.

    I agree that Arena failed to because they only looked at one aspect of obesity. Until the pharmaceutical industry helps consumers address the root causes of the problem, they will never be successful in helping the masses sustain long term healthy body weight.


  • October 27, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Joseph, thanks for the great article on weight loss pills and Locaserin, in particular. 370 retweets is definitely the most we’ve ever seen here at Hive Health Media.

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  • October 26, 2010 at 7:51 am

    One significant hurdle facing any and all obesity drug manufacturers is that obesity is a multi-faceted problem

    Brain chemistry, hormones, genetics, epigenetics, lifestyle, social pressure, advertising, etc….

    So, when a drug like Lorcaserin takes a focused approach (serotonin) to solve a multi-faceted problem, I believe that they are doomed to failure.


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