Is Belviq® (Lorcaserin) safe?
When it comes to approving a new medication, the safety issue is the first to consider and is usually the number one reason to turn down a new drug. Belviq® (Lorcaserin) is one of the very few weight loss medications that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But does it really mean it is 100% safe?
Any serious medication can cause side effects and adverse reactions. Your organism is unique and can react to ingredients in the medication, while someone else’s doesn’t, or if does, then in much lighter form. Some of these reactions can be predicted, especially for cases when patients have certain health conditions, like heart disease or diabetes. Others may vary from case to case.
Lorcaserin definitely has side effects, however, whether you will experience them or not depends on many factors. They include age (people who are older tend to have more side effects, than younger patients), how much you weight, whether you are female or male, and other health problems (type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), high LDL cholesterol, and others).
Some of the Lorcaserin side effects are light and considered to be minor, in which case the benefits of taking the Belviq weight-loss pill simply outweigh the slightly unpleasant reactions. In other cases, tolerating side effects (the more severe ones) can be very dangerous for your health, so if you get them, you should immediately contact the doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.
Belviq’s light side effects
The lighter side effects are more common and usually appear when patients just started taking the drug. For many, these effects simply disappear after taking Belviq for a while. Also, during the trials, researchers have noticed that people with diabetes have experienced slightly different adverse effects, than people without diabetes.
For patients with diabetes:
– Feeling tired
– Back pains
For patients without diabetes:
– Feeling tired, fatigue
– Dry mouth
The Belviq side effects that are more common to patients with diabetes can occur to people without diabetes (and vice versa), it is just not as common. If any of these adverse effects bother you, contact your doctor, he or she will help you adjust the dosage or help you find a way deal with them.
More severe adverse reactions of Belviq
Before you buy Belviq and start taking it, make sure your doctor knows about all of your health problems. Also, inform your doctor about the medication you have been using (what medication and what for). It is very important, because when combined with other ingredients Lorcaserin can cause life-threatening side effects.
If you have any of the described below symptoms, contact your doctor or the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
– Serotonin syndrome
Lorcaserin works by activating certain serotonin receptors in the brain, which leads to decreasing of appetite. Many antidepressants (SSRI’s) also work by normalizing the serotonin levels. However the excessive accumulation of serotonin can lead to a dangerous condition called Serotonin syndrome. If you have been taking medicine to treat depression or anxiety (even if it was a long time ago), be sure to inform your doctor about it.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact the doctor immediately: hallucinations, anxiety, agitation, confusion, very fast heartbeat, sweating, twitching of the muscles, digestive problems (nausea, diarrhea), or fever.
Whether it is feeling extremely sad (or extremely happy), having thoughts of making harm to yourself or kill yourself, having mood swings, nightmares or experiencing unusual feelings, call your doctor right away.
– Low blood sugar (more common for people with diabetes)
Having low glucose levels in blood can cause the following symptoms: hunger, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, being irritated, confusion, and headaches. Contact your doctor in case your blood sugar is low, so that he/she could adjust how you take the Lorcaserin or the dosage of other medication that you take for managing diabetes.
– Breathing problems
Some patients, who start taking Lorcaserin for weight loss, can experience feeling short of breath, or trouble breathing (even if the effort is mild). That sometimes comes with a decreased heart rate.
– Cognitive side effects
Taking Belviq can affect the way you think and the speed of thinking. It might slow your thinking down, which in turn slows down the reaction time. It also can affect your concentration abilities, making it hard for you to focus. This is why patients are not recommended to drive or perform tasks that require your complete attention (like operating heavy equipment). Avoid these tasks, especially in the beginning, and until you know exactly how Lorcaserin hydrochloride affects your cognitive skills.
Furthermore, patients who took too much of the medicine could experience the feeling of being outside their body or standing near their body.
Although swelling of the face and limbs (especially hands, ankles and feet) might seem as a less serious reaction, it is in fact very dangerous. That alongside with breathing difficulties can be a symptom of the valvular heart disease (problems with heart valve).
Men might also have painful erection, which can last for more than 4 hours.
– Nipple discharge
Breast swelling is also quite common in both men and women. Patients can notice that the breasts have increased in size, which sometimes comes with nipple discharge (if the breasts start producing milky fluid or milk). That is described by the fact that Lorcaserin might affect the levels of the hormone known as prolactin, which is responsible for breastfeeding.
– Heart and blood problems
The most common Lorcaserin side effect is the slower heart rate. In some patients the heart beat increases significantly or becomes uneven. Some other symptoms include being light-headed, and having unusually pale skin. Belviq can affect the levels of red and white cell counts in blood, usually by decreasing them.
– Symptoms of the flu
These include the standard flu symptoms, like sore throat, fever, runny nose, muscle pain, body and headaches, sores in mouth, cough, nausea, chills.
The studies on Belviq are still going and researchers still need time to name other possible side effects. That means that once you buy Lorcaserin and start taking it, make sure you note any changes, no matter how small they are. Does anything seem unusual? It is important that your doctor knows every small detail.
We’d also like to remind you that in case if you get any of the described higher symptoms or other unusual reactions – contact your doctor immediately or go to the closest emergency.