lorcaserin HCL (Belviq)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is lorcaserin HCL (Belviq), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Lorcaserin is an orally administered medication that promotes weight loss. It is used with diet and exercise in overweight adults with a weight-related medical problem or obese adults to lose weight and keep it off. Lorcaserin is a serotonin 2C (5-HT2C) receptor agonist. Although the exact mechanism of action is not known, lorcaserin is thought to selectively stimulate 5-HT2C receptors in the hypothalamus, the area of the brain known to play a major role in regulating hunger and food intake. By activating these receptors, lorcaserin may decrease food consumption by decreasing appetite and making a person feel full even after eating less food than usual.

Lorcaserin was approved by the FDA in June, 2012. Use and distribution of lorcaserin is under strict control by the federal government as it has a potential for abuse and drug dependence. As such, lorcaserin is classified as a schedule IV controlled substance.

What brand names are available for lorcaserin HCL (Belviq)?

Belviq

Is lorcaserin HCL (Belviq) available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for lorcaserin HCL (Belviq)?

Yes

What are the side effects of lorcaserin HCL (Belviq)?

The most common side effects are:

Other less common but serious side effects associated with lorcaserin include:

  • heart valve problems,
  • changes in attention or memory,
  • mental problems,
  • depression or thoughts of suicide,
  • painful erections,
  • slow heartbeat,
  • a drop in blood cell count, and
  • an increase in the hormone, prolactin.

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