The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration on Wednesday approved an obesity drug that Japan's
Eisai Co. has the exclusive right to market in the United States.
Giving its first approval of an obesity drug in 13 years, the FDA authorized the Belviq drug, whose generic name is lorcaserin hydrochloride, as sought by U.S. drug maker Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The drug has been approved for use in adult patients as an addition to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise, the FDA said.
"Diet, exercise and behavioral therapy alone may not result in sustained weight loss for many overweight and obese people trying to lose weight," Lonnel Coats, president of U.S. unit Eisai Inc., said in a statement.
The Belviq drug "represents an important therapeutic option for physicians responsible for the medical management of their patients who are overweight or obese," the statement said.
In the United States, about two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Another obesity drug may be approved by the end of July.
To address the obesity problem, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on superlarge sugary drinks.
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