Can You Get Lorcaserin in the UK?

Lorcaserin (Belviq) is a new drug intended to aid weight-loss by suppression of appetite. Previous weight-loss drugs, have worked by preventing the body from absorbing fats from food. Lorcarsein has been approved for use in the US for several years, but is not currently available in the UK. However, new trials have discovered that Lorcaserin does not increase your risk of heart valve damage, unlike other weight-loss drugs. With this in mind, Lorcaserin my soon become an approved treatment in the UK.

How effective is Lorcaserin?

In Lorcaserin trials, patients were shown to lose an average of 4kg or 8.8 lbs after 40 months, so that’s approximately 1.2kg (2.6 lbs) lost in a year. Patients in the trial were encouraged to participate in an exercise programme, so Lorcaserin is certainly no miracle weight loss treatment. However, 2.6lbs lost a year, is an average and over the whole 40 month programme, people taking Lorcaserin were three times more likely to have lost 5-10% of their body weight, than the participants taking the placebo.

 

Why can’t you get Lorcaserin on the NHS?

Lorcaserin has not yet been approved for use in the UK. NICE is the UK body that is responsible for approving new treatments and how they should be used. There were concerns initially regarding the safety of Lorcaserin, but it has since been found that there is less risk of heart valve damage than other diet pills therefore Lorcaserin may soon become available in the UK. Just because a treatment is approved for use in the UK, does not mean it will be available on the NHS. The NHS is a complicated healthcare system that must balance cost with patient benefit. Lorcaserin must be taken twice a day, and the current US cost is $220-290 (£155-225) per month. Compared to other weight-loss treatments, this makes Lorcaserin a very expensive option. But over 50% of UK adults are classed as overweight or obese. These conditions increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. So it’s possible that Lorcaserin may be more cost effective than the long term treatment required for weight-related diseases. 

 

What are the alternatives to Lorcaserin in the UK?

Orlistat (Xenical)

is a type of prescription weight-loss pill known as a fat-binder. A common cause of obesity and being overweight, is consuming more calories in food than you burn off in exercise. Orlistat works by binding with the fat you eat, and successfully blocks, about one third of the fat you eat from being absorbed by the body. Reducing your fat intake, can dramatically reduce your weight. Orlistat has also proven useful, for preventing weight being regained after successful weight loss. People who take Orlistat, lose on average 5.3 kg (11.68 lbs) after one year, making it almost 4 times more effective than Lorcaserin (1.2 kg or 2.6 lbs lost in a year). Both Lorcaserin and Orlistat are most effective when combined with exercise and a healthy diet. If you make no other lifestyle changes, you are much less likely to see an effect from these treatments. If you do not want to take drugs to help your weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet can still be really effective. If you need support to help you with this, it can be really helpful to join a weight-loss programme, such as Slimming World, who help you track your diet, weight and exercise, making your more conscious or what you eat and what it does to your body. 

You can also use registered and regulated online doctor and pharmacy services in the UK like Dr Felix to obtain a prescription for Xenical (Orlistat) and have it delivered to your home or work without having to see a GP face to face.
 

 

Sources:

BBC > Weight-loss drug lorcaserin found to be safe in new study.

New England Journal of Medicine > Cardiovascular Safety of Lorcaserin in Overweight or Obese Patients.

Womens Health > Orlistat: Can This Weight-Loss Pill Really Help You Lose Weight?

Patient > Orlistat.

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