Lisa Sutter has been struggling with her weight for years.
"I was always a normal weight until after I had my last child in my mid 30s and something just changed in me after that where I just couldn't control what I ate," she said.
The 51-year-old enrolled in a clinical trial testing a new weight loss drug called Belviq, known generically as lorcaserin. The drug acts on the area of the brain that controls appetite and metabolism. In one year, she lost 40
pounds-- about 20 percent of her body weight.
"I didn't feel hungry. I felt like I had my self control back," she said.
"It can double, triple, the number of people who can lose 10 percent or more of their body weight in conjunction with a diet program," said Dr. Louis Aronne of NY-Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
FDA advisors had concerns the drug could also damage heart valves and breast and brain tumors were seen in animal studies. Many doctors still feel the safest way to lose weight is through diet and exercise, not pills.
"Something as simple as cutting your calories, taking the liquid calories out, getting some walking in helps you to lose that weight slowly and steadily," said Dr. Lisa Ganjhu of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.
Sutter has struggled with her weight since going off the pill.
"I started feeling extremely hungry again and gaining back all the weight I lost," she said.
She says Belviq was a magic bullet for her and she's relieved the drug will now be available for her and others trying to get back to a healthy weight.
Belviq was only approved for obese adults or those who are overweight and have at least one other medical issue, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
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