US health regulators have approved a weight-loss pill for the first time in 13 years.
Belviq, made by Arena Pharmaceutical, can be used by obese or overweight adults with at least one condition. The drug achieved only modest results in clinical studies, helping people lose on average about 5% of their body weight. The medication is expected to launch in 2013.
Belviq was rejected in 2010 because of concerns over tumours that developed in animals tested with the drug. After San Diego-based Arena resubmitted its application with more data, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found little risk of tumours in humans using the drug.
Belviq is designed to block appetite signals in the brain, making patients feel fuller with smaller amounts of food. Belviq is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing. It has been approved for use in obese adults with a body mass index of 30 or greater.