With last week’s approval by an FDA advisory board for lorcaserin, the first weight-management drug to get a tentative thumbs up in 13 years—and with at least one similar drug, Qnexa, in the approval pipeline—it’s clear that the search for solutions to America’s obesity epidemic continues to gain urgency.
Federal approval came despite very modest study results: In a year-long clinical trial, subjects who took the drug lost 5.8 percent of body fat, compared with 2.5 percent for those getting a placebo. Plus, research shows potential side effects may include damage to heart valves.
Of course, there’s no magic pill that will melt off extra pounds. Still, tried-and-true, safe natural products may offer extra support to people who are also following a healthy diet and exercising moderately. Some innovative new ingredients also show promise, though more research is needed.