Weight-loss drugs have so far been a complete bust. But they may be verging on a comeback, now that the
Both weight-loss medications failed to get federal approval in 2010 because of safety concerns, including heart risks and
Critics argue that weight-loss drugs don't have enough benefits to justify the risk. But resources aimed at improving diet and increasing physical activity have not been helping the nearly 1 in 3 Americans dealing with extreme weight gain.
Obesity continues to be "one of the most significant public health challenges facing the United States," according to a report issued by the
The drugs are meant for
But do they work? Are they safe? Here's the skinny:
How it works: Belviq, or lorcaserin, activates a serotonin receptor in the brain that may help a person eat less and feel full after eating smaller amounts of food. In clinical trials, patients on average lost just 5 percent of body weight after taking the drug for a year along with eating less and exercising more.
Concerns: The drug could potentially damage heart valves. Fenfluramine, a similar serotonin-based weight-loss drug, was taken off the market in 1997 due to the same heart concerns. Belviq shows "an increased incidence of adverse reactions related to cognition and mood," according to the FDA. Still unknown: the long-term risk of
How it works: Qsymia is a combination of two FDA-approved drugs,
Concerns: Birth defects are a biggie: The drug can increase the risk of