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Health Guide Review: 3,3/5

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Belviq Review: Does it work?

Intro: What is it?

Belviq is a prescription weight loss pill that’s used as appetite suppression. It does this by working deep in the brain, changing serotonin to help block food cravings.

It’s currently a schedule IV drug, which requires close supervision from a medical doctor to ensure there’s no dependence or abuse.  Diet and exercise are also required in order to lose weight. In order to be approved one first has to have a BMI of 30 or greater, or 27 or greater if one has an obesity related illness.  So how useful is this drug, if at all? What kind of possible side effects may occur? You can discover what Belviq has to offer in this comprehensive review.

Belviq Ingredients

There’s just one active ingredient in this formula:

Lorcaserin Hydrochloride 10mg

Lorcaserin Hydrochloride: The active ingredient which is used to suppress appetite by rewiring synapses in the brain. This means that it affects serotonin, which is linked to changing mood, appetite, learning, sexual desire, sleep and much more.  By changing how the brain works its synapses, it’s intended to help reduce the cravings for food.

The RxList lists side effects which can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Back pain.
  • Low blood sugar.
  • Heart problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • PNausea.
  • Painful erections.

The official website also mentions that people taking any kind of medicine, and in particular depression, migraine, and mental health medicines; should seek a doctors input whether or not it’s safe to use.  A doctor has to ensure that the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

The owners of Belviq list the following as possible symptoms:

  • Valvular heart disease leading to pain and weakness, as well as swelling.
  • Slowed down thinking where you shouldn’t use a car.
  • Hallucinations and a mental high.
  • Depression and or thoughts of suicide.
  • Decreased blood cell count.
  • Drug dependence.

There are several other reported side effects that the company mentions is possible. Even people who are healthy should be careful about the potential risk for side effects. In some people this drug may cause life threatening issues.

Inactive additives include:

Silicified Microcrystalline Cellulose Hydroxypropyl Cellulose NF Croscarmellose Sodium NF Colloidal Silicon Dioxide NF
Polyvinyl Alcohol USP Polyethylene Glycol NF Titanium Dioxide USP Talc USP
FD&C Blue #2 Aluminum Lake Magnesium Stearate NF

Some of the ingredients are potentially harmful:

FD&C Blue #2 Aluminum Lake: Food coloring added to foods as a way to make it look more colorful. It serves no nutritional purpose and is purely used to make the product look blue.  A scientific journal called The Lancet showed an increase of:

  • Hyperactivity in children.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest produced another study which showed it lead to:

  • Birth defects.
  • Abnormal cell development.
  • Increased risk for brain cancer.

The same group mentions that Blue Dye #2 is:

not safe for human consumption”

According to the CSPI this ingredient should be banned from use.  They’ve declared that since there’s no nutritional benefit to it, and since many studies show it can produce toxic effects, it’s not a necessary additive.

Polyethylene Glycol: A lubricant that also has potential laxative effects.  It’s used in high amounts as a short term indigestion fix.

Belviq Quality of Ingredients

There are several serious side effects which may arise. This can include thoughts of suicide, depression, low blood count, and heart problems.

Included is also food coloring which some say is a cancer causing allergen that has no nutritional benefit.

Overall, the ingredients are known to potentially cause serious side effects. The company also lists this important statistic:

47.1% (of people) taking BELVIQ lost 5% or more of their body weight after 1 year of treatment”

This is with added diet and exercise as well. So less than half the people who took this brand for a year with lifestyle changes only saw a 5% decrease. With the added risk and lack of a guarantee that it works, Belviq is far too demanding since it’s uncertain if an effect will be felt.

There’s no doubt that an effect on the brain will be possible, but it’s uncertain if this change will be at all positive. Since results are not guaranteed, it’s unknown what kind of effect this product may have from person to person.

The Price and Quality of Belviq

The price of this drug according to Drug.com retails for $238.31 for a month’s supply.

This means at 60 pills at twice a day, this brand costs:

$238.31/60= $3.98 for one full serving a day.

It’s incredibly expensive due to it being a prescription pill.  This means the cost is $2,865 for a years’ worth. Also, there’s no guarantee of it having any effect.

The brand can be covered by some forms of insurance, but first a doctor has to deem a person healthy enough, yet obese enough to use it.

Potential for Serious Side Effects

According to the manufacturers:

Belviq and certain medicines… may cause life-threatening side effects”

The company lists a huge list of symptoms that were noticed during clinical studies. This list includes the following:

  • Mental changes such as confusion, hallucinations, depression.
  • Coordination issues such as muscle twitching and muscle spasms.
  • Sweating and fever like symptoms.
  • Stiff muscles.
  • Rapid racing heart beat or low to high blood pressure.
  • Feelings of standing next to yourself and out your body.
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, or arms.
  • Weakness and fatigue that doesn’t go away.

It’s unknown what the combined effect may be when experiencing these symptoms. Many customer reviews available online mention some of these side effects. This is likely why the drug is only prescribed in special circumstances.

A doctor has to ensure that the potential risks outweigh the benefits.

Another issue is with the added food coloring. Scientific organizations such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest have tried to ban the same food coloring used in Belviq. This was over concerns of it leading to cancer, since some clinical studies showed it increased the risk for tumors in mice.

Clinical Studies

One major clinical study funded by the company showed that less than half of the people who took this with diet exercise lost 5% of body fat.

This means that a 250 pound person has to exercise and diet with regularity, and still only be able to potentially lose 12.5 pounds.

However, this number was only seen in less than half of the people who did the study. This means that the average person might not see anything close to that loss of weight. It may be much less, or it could be no change at all.

People who took this for either 2 years or 1 were part of the company’s clinical studies which showed:

All people regained weight”

Therefore maintenance is required in order to sustain weight loss. You can’t expect this brand to work in the long term.  Also, it’s required to be monitored by a doctor in order to help to check in on your health/. This can increase not just the time spent worrying about this brand, but it’s also an investment of money.

Early studies of this pill showed that:

“50% increase in the risk of valve problems”

It was also originally banned from sale due to a risk of tumors in lab rats.

The drug also barely made it past the FDA threshold of being considered a useful tool for weight loss. People taking the placebo saw 22% losing around 5% of their body weight. 47% of people lost 5% of their body fat. In order for the FDA to approve use, a brand has to provide a benefit in a least twice as many people who took a drug, versus those who only took the placebo.

This means that it only passed by a 3% margin. Had it been less the FDA would not have approved it for use.

Business of Belviq

The owners are Eisai Co. Ltd. They’re a Japanese pharmaceutical company.  They do have US customer representatives which can be reached below:

Phone Number: (201) 692-1804

Address: 100 Tice Blvd

Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey 07677

They’ve also had issues in past with lawsuits:

  • The company paid $11 million for their role in giving false positive health claims about a drug.
  • They were sued by a former employee for allegedly making false claims about their cancer drug.

Customer Opinions of Belviq

There are hundreds of reviews available online; here are some of the common opinions:

“still hungry, extremely tired, and towards the end of my trial depressed”

“I lost weight when I got off it”

“I have GAINED 1 pound each day I have been using it”

“Weighe(d)sic exactly the same as I did before I started”

The most common criticism is that people didn’t lose weight, but in fact they gained weight. Some also add that the side effects were too much, and that it was impossible to continue use since they felt too sick.

Several customers add that they didn’t see one positive benefit.

Conclusion

Key things to consider about Belviq include:

  • It’s not a guarantee for weight loss: There’s no safety or money back guarantee offered. If you were to experience any of the dangerous side effects, you would be forced to deal with the effects on your own. A 2 year study funded by the company showed that people who used this brand even with diet and exercise had regained weight. Therefore, this expensive pill is not a long term solution for weight loss. It relies more on people having to make lifestyle changes to reduce their caloric intake.
  • Many dangerous side effects are possible: This drug is known to potentially cause heart problems, mood changes, depression, thoughts of suicide, and decreased blood cell count. The company lists a giant declaration of all the potential side effects, including the ones listed above. It’s also advised to watch your blood sugar as it may cause dangerously low blood sugar. Still, with all these potential side effects there’s no guarantee of it producing positive effects. Not only did many customers leave negative reviews, but in clinical studies less than half of the people lost at least 5% body fat in one full year. This would amount to 10 pounds lost in a 200 pound person, which is low for the amount of time you’re taking it for.
  • Customers have left hundreds of negative reviews: There are hundreds of reviews from people online who claim that this drug had a negative impact. Many mention they felt worse off, and that they actually gained weight. Some commonly reported symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headaches, anxiety, and feelings of depression. These same customers also mentioned that it wasn’t worth taking Belviq, and they regret ever using it.
  • Only a doctor can prescribe it, and only certain people can use it: In order to use this drug you must have a BMI of 30 or higher. Or, if you have obesity related disease, your BMI should be at least 27. Also, when using this drug a doctor has to ensure that you’re capable of using this brand. This is because those on other medications or with a weakened heart are at risk for life threatening symptoms. Still, these symptoms are possible even with people who are healthy.
  • It’s a schedule 4 drug according to the DEA: Due to it being a potentially additive drug, the key active ingredient in Belviq is a schedule 4 drug which shares the same place as Xanax, Ambien, Valium, and much more. People can abuse this drug and it’s only advised in very specific cases.

Belviq has not been well reviewed by all customers, and their clinical studies show less than a 50% success rate for even small amounts of weight loss. Their own studies show that people regained weight after 2 years of use.

Due to the potential risk for life threatening symptoms, the high cost, and the lack of a guarantee, there’s not enough promise to suggest taking this brand will be safe or effective.

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