Common weight-loss drug hits two targets in overweight middle-age women
A recent study has shown that the use of the selective serotonin 2C (5-HT2C) receptor agonist lorcaserin benefits middle-age women who are overweight in two ways: inducing weight loss and improving vasomotor symptoms (VMS).
The 5-HT2C receptor agonist is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for weight loss, but it has unreported observational evidence of a beneficial effect on VMS. This is particularly attractive for the treatment of midlife women going through the menopause transition, as this population is prone to weight gain and VMS, according to the researchers.
In total, 20 overweight women aged 45-60 years who were experiencing severe VMS participated in a 24-week open label pilot study. They received lorcaserin at the standard dose of 10 mg twice daily for the first 12 weeks, then underwent 12 weeks of observation off the drug.
At the end of treatment phase, the participants lost a mean of 2.4 kg (90 percent confidence interval, −3.2 to −1.7; p<0.001), but their weight returned to baseline level at week 24.
There was a parallel improvement seen in VMS, with a mean decrease of 5.4 in self-reported hot flash frequency from baseline to week 12. The frequency, however, rapidly increased within 2 weeks of discontinuation of lorcaserin, with a tendency to approach the baseline value.
The present data confirm that in addition to its weight loss-inducing effect, 5-HT2C receptor modulation may have an additional beneficial effect on VMS, researchers said.