November 01, 2017
2 min read

Lorcaserin, placebo equally effective for long-term weight maintenance

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WASHINGTON — The addition of lorcaserin, to a behavioral intervention aimed at helping adults maintain weight loss was significantly more effective than placebo at 6 months, but not at 1 year, according to findings from a small study presented at ObesityWeek.

“We know that two different interventions can help to improve weight-loss maintenance: the first is ongoing lifestyle intervention, and the second is pharmacotherapy,” said presenter Jena Shaw Tronieri, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry and director of clinical services at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. “Two weight-loss medications have been tested thus far specifically for the maintenance of weight that was lost on a low-calorie diet. Those are orlistat and liraglutide [Saxenda, Novo Nordisk]. We were trying to see if lorcaserin [Belviq, Eisai] could also extend weight-loss maintenance in patients that have lost weight using a low-calorie diet.”

Tronieri and colleagues randomly assigned 137 adults with BMI between 33 kg/m2 and 55 kg/m2 (mean BMI, 40.9 kg/m2; mean age, 46.5 years; 88.2% women; 70.8% black) to weight-loss maintenance counseling plus 10 mg twice daily lorcaserin, a serotonin receptor 2C agonist indicated for chronic weight management, or to counseling plus placebo. All participants had lost at least 5% body weight on a low-calorie diet during a 14-week intent-to-treat run-in to the study; mean amount of weight lost during the run-in period was 9.3% of initial weight (10.7 kg). Program adherence was reviewed at nine medical visits over 1 year of follow-up.

At week 24, 85.4% of participants had assessment data. The lorcaserin group lost an additional 2.4 kg whereas the placebo group gained 0.6 kg (P = .01); 73.9% of the lorcaserin group and 57.4% of the placebo group maintained the initial weight loss of at least 5% (P = .03). Differences in weight loss and weight maintenance between the groups were not significant at 52 weeks nor were any differences observed in adverse event rates.

“I want to highlight that participants in both groups were successful in maintaining a clinically significant weight loss of about 7% across the study,” Tronieri said. “Lorcaserin did improve on weight maintenance at week 24, but not at our primary outcome point at week 52. I want to couch this in the fact that this was a smaller sample size and predominantly black, and so it should be replicated in more representative samples.” — by Jill Rollet


Tronieri JS. T-OR-LB-2083. Presented at: ObesityWeek 2017; Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2017; Washington, D.C.

Disclosure: Tronieri reports she has financial ties with Novo Nordisk.