First New Prescription Obesity Drug in 13 Years Wins FDA Approval

June 27, 2012 — The Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of lorcaserin today, paving the way for the drug to become only the second prescription obesity treatment available to the roughly one-third of American who have the condition. In 2010, the FDA rejected the drug, which will be known as Belviq, citing safety concerns. Many obesity advocates and experts, who argue that physicians need more options to fight the growing epidemic, were disappointed by the rejection and lobbied for a second review. Arena Pharmaceuticals, the company that developed lorcaserin, returned to the FDA with additional safety data to address the agency’s concerns, and received a positive vote from the advisory committee earlier this year. The FDA does not have to follow the vote of its advisory committee, but it often does. Read the New York Times story on the approval here.