Tag Archives: binge

What is Belviq, the New Weight Loss Drug?

Belviq is a new weight loss drug that just became available by prescription this past week, one of only two new weight loss drugs approved by the FDA in the last 13 years. (The other is Qsymia, which I have already written about.) It is made by Arena Pharmaceuticals. Belviq is the trade name, Lorcaserin is the generic name, and it was called Lorqess during its development.

Belviq affects the serotonin receptors in the brain, changing the neurotransmitter action of serotonin, the brain chemical you hear about related to mood. SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are a group of drugs that are mainly used to treat depression, but it has been found that many of the drugs that affect neurotransmitters have lots of other affects, change in appetite among them. Drugs that change the action of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are used to treat many psychological conditions, even psychotic disorders, because they change the way we think and feel. They can create experience in the psyche like hallucinations, expansive thoughts or euphoria (good mood or feeling), or quell it, like reducing cravings and dark thoughts, or quieting hallucinations and mania. The antidepressant Wellbutrin was found to quiet the cravings of people trying to quit smoking and was then marketed also as Zyban. Some of these drugs were found to increase appetite, cravings, and drive to eat, and some have been found to reduce appetite and cravings. Pharmaceutical companies create new drugs, experiment with them, then market them for the effects that they produce. Belviq is sold as a weight loss drug, a drug to reduce appetite.

Does it work?

Reliable clinical studies have shown that people given the drug lost weight slightly more than people given a placebo, even without instruction in weight loss protocols. In studies where people were instructed in weight loss technique, people taking the drug did about twice as well as those taking the placebo. In all cases, the weight loss was slight, and the weight was regained after the trials. I have seen no reports that relate the subjective experience of appetite or craving suppression by the study subjects, which is the main thing I would like to know about. One would assume, based on the results of the clinical studies, that eating drive was reduced by the drug.

What value would any weight loss drug have?

Everyone familiar with my work knows that there is no mystical magic to successful weight loss. We must establish new behavior where we eat less, to the degree that we lose weight and keep it off. My method has been so successful because of the use of psychological techniques that are so effective in managing thoughts and feelings and so effective in changing habit –deleting damaging habits and installing healthy habits.

I know, from personal experience, as well as my work with clients and patients, that we are all different in many ways, and we have different psychological experience, like appetite, cravings and compulsion.

For those who experience uncontrollable drive that results in life threatening bingeing and uncontrollable compulsive eating, I pray that we find a drug that can mitigate outrageous eating drive without presenting unwanted and dangerous side effects. People would still have to manage their behavior with the methods I teach, but it would be so much easier if one were not tormented by the compulsion that I know some people experience. Is Belviq such a drug? I hope to find out.

Is Belviq safe?

There are so many bad side effects being reported that it is scary, even to a mental health counselor who has seen it all. Not only are psychological side effects being reported, but risk of medical problems seems high. Both the University  of California’s Wellness Letter and Consumer Reports have published critical reviews that would discourage just about anyone but the most desperate from taking it.

The Anderson Method recommendation:

To solve your weight problem, you will have to create new habits of behavior and thinking, no matter what. You will need to maintain them for the rest of your life. Many people have used The Anderson Method to do just that, some saying it was easy. If you can do that without drugs, that will be the best solution. After all, you don’t want to be taking these drugs for the rest of your life, even if they are safe.

If you are unable to manage compulsive eating and bingeing and the experience of craving is an absolute torment, drugs might help. There are a number of drugs that have helped people with unwanted eating drive, such as Wellbutrin, Lexapro and Topamax. And they have been around for a while. My advice, if you want to try a drug to help with weight control, is to find an expert in these drugs (Psychiatrists or Psychiatric Nurses) and try one that is known to be safe. Remember that no matter what, no drug is going to make you lose weight or solve your weight problem. The solution is in behavioral therapy science. A drug may make it easier to do the work, but you will still need to do the work. If you want to try a drug, try one that’s known to help some people and been around for a while. Let someone else be the guinea pig with Belviq.

 

Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Linked to Chemicals

 

A story in The Atlantic  Monday reported a study that documents binge eating and compulsive overeating triggered by changes in brain chemistry.

For years, I have been teaching that compulsive overeating is an addiction and that it is not simply a poor decision by people who don’t care about themselves, that it is compulsion driven by biological forces, disordered brain chemistry. I’ve said that in most cases there is some sort of addictive process at work. I’ve been successful helping people lose weight permanently because I teach therapeutic technique that helps them to gain control of addictive behavior, rather than just teach about diets and exercise.

In a study published in the scientific journal Current Biology, it was shown that when a portion of the brain associated with habit and cue- response was stimulated with a drug, animals that previously exhibited “normal” eating behavior increased their consumption of chocolate by 250%. This in turn resulted in an increase of the brain’s endorphins, an opium or heroin relative that is the most notorious of addiction creators.

For years, while I was out of control and obese with my overeating, I knew that changing things was not just a matter of making up your mind. I knew that something more than will-power was needed to solve the problem. It was not until I studied addictions and behavioral medicine that I was able to lose the excess weight and keep it off. Now, here is proof that some people who are overeating and obese are dealing with something the dietitians and personal trainers just have no knowledge of. I always knew they were clueless when they insisted they knew enough to help with their simplistic approach of diet and exercise. Now, here’s proof. For some of us, its neurochemical, like chemical addictions.

So, if you’ve struggled with self-control, cravings, inability to stay with a healthy diet and all the misery associated with that and being overweight, here’s proof that you have a problem that most have not acknowledged or understood. You have a problem similar to the toughest chemical addictions known to man. Is it caused the chemicals they put in our food? Is it the stuff they put in the junk food the food companies peddle? Do we need to know exactly what the cause is to solve the problem? No.

We don’t have to have all the answers to solve the problem. Regardless of the reasons we do what we do, we can change. But the solution is not just a matter of “making up your mind”, “deciding you want it bad enough”, or to “just stop eating too much, for heaven’s sake”. You will need to get serious and learn about and apply behavioral medicine for addictions, like the Therapeutic Psychogenics I teach.

Believe me, if a pill comes along that will correct the brain chemistry and remove the eating compulsion and addiction, I’ll be the first to promote it. But if I were still waiting for that, I’d still be over 300 pounds instead of my ideal weight for the last 25 years. Don’t wait for a drug cure, even though there is now proof that the problem lies in brain chemistry. You can solve your problem today with behavior therapy designed to control addiction.