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"Experimental diet pill shows promise, fewer risks"


Source: CTV.CA

Published: 14 Jul 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (2½ stars)

Keywords: diet dieting lorcaserin weight loss obesity

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

ATLANTA - An experimental diet pill helped about half the people who tried it lose some weight and keep it off a year later, without the heart problems that some earlier drugs caused, a study found.

Arena Pharmaceuticals' lorcaserin is one of three drugs that are boosting hope for a new generation of more effective weight-loss medicines. One gets a Food and Drug Administration review on Thursday, and the others later this year...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 9
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a story that lacks many details that should be of concern to Canadian readers. What is most prominently missing from this report is information on the safety of this new drug called lorcaserin.

The story describes the drug as the "first truly novel weight-loss pill in a dozen years if it wins approval" and describes the fact that lorcaserin works similar to fen-phen (a drug removed from the market for its effects on the heart). Although the article does indicate that lorcaserin works in a "more selective, and perhaps safer, manner" then fen-phen, the ambiguity of this statement should raise some questions about its safety.

It is important to acknowledge that the scope of medications for weight loss is a huge industry. This story does mention alternative weight-loss treatments such as phentermine, sibutramine (Meridia) and orlistat,(Xenical or Alli); however, it does not compare the effectiveness of lorcaserin to these existing treatment options. In fact, the article adds a significant bias by listing (and emphasizing) the adverse effects of these comparator drugs and by not providing adequate information about the safety of lorcaserin.

Readers of this article need further information about lorcaserin safety, potential conflicts of interest and the availability of this new treatment in Canada. The inclusion of these details would allow readers to be more assured by quotes saying that the drug "looks very safe at this point" (as stated by the study leader).

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