Updated on 16 May 2012
The FDA technical panel decided to give a thumbs up for the drug because its review of data indicated that potential benefits far outweigh the risks of heart failure.
Patients treated with the drug are believed to have reports 5 to 8 per cent loss in weight during the trial period.
Arena has given the marketing rights of Lorcaserin to Eisai Pharmaceutical of Japan. Another company, Orexigen Therapeutics is also seeking FDA approval for its weight loss drug.
Both Arena and Vivus had been trying to get the FDA approval for their obesity treatment drugs since 2010. The initial applications were rejected due the potential side effects. The revised application with new data submitted in 2012 has cleared the major regulatory step now.
Currently there is a drug, Xenical ( orlistat) sold in the market to treat obesity. It works by absorbing fat but has not been very successful in enticing large number of people to try it.