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Belviq: Miracle FDA-approved weight loss drug?

Healthy Living

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CINCINNATI -- There's a new, FDA-approved weight-loss drug on the market -- one of the first in more than a decade -- that tells your brain you are not hungry.

Some patients taking this new drug are showing incredible results, and say it's not just a fad.

  • Naomi Flores is 47 years old and wants to loose 25 pounds.
  • Howard Greenseth is 80 and has been overweight most of his life.
  • William Clauson is 51 and wants to lose more than 100 pounds.

"I would always have to have a snack before I go to bed," said Clauson.

All three are taking the new weight-loss drug, Belviq, and all three have already noticed a change in their eating habits.

"By the third day, I really had to think, what do I want. I'm really not hungry," said Clauson.

America is the second fattest country in the world, losing out to Mexico by only one percent -- with 36 percent of Americans falling into the obese category.

The FDA approved Belviq last year.

"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.

To qualify for Belviq, you must be obese, which means your body mass index or BMI is more than 30.

"The drug is not a fat burner. It simply lowers your appetite, decreases your cravings for food," said Dr. Vig.

"While most diet drugs work as an appetite suppressant in your stomach, Belviq works as a suppressant in your brain. This thing actually targets a receptor in the brain which is very specific for appetite. It is almost like a laser gun going to the appetite center of your brain," said Dr. Vig.

But not all doctors are sold. Some say it's too new.

"I don't think it's been given to enough patients and watched over time to be able to prove the safety of that drug," said Dr. Rula, an integrated medicine physician.

Dr. Rula is not alone. 9 On Your Side had trouble finding doctors in the Tri-State prescribing the new drug. 

9 On Your Side contacted over a dozen and only one prescribes it.

Belviq is working for Naomi, Howard, and William. After 3 months, they've lost a combined 73 pounds. They say they feel wonderful and they would recommend it to anybody.

  • Howard lost 31 pounds.
  • Naomi's lost 10 pounds. Her BMI is now below the obesity level of 30.
  • William is down 32 pounds.

"You really see it in the eyes of the patients when they are losing weight. They love to do it. And they love to report back to me and tell me how well they are doing," said Dr. Vig.

Dr Vig said he's only had a few patients reporting side effects of fatigue.

"In my mind, this is a very safe and effective drug," said Dr. Vig.
 
Belviq is pricey: More than $200 for a month's supply. The manufacturer offers a discount card. It is covered under some insurances.

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