FDA panel rejects diet drug lorcaserin

By Bruce Japsen
Posted Sep. 16, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.

An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration voted against recommending an experimental diet drug known as lorcaserin be approved for marketing.

In a first of several votes to be taken this afternoon, only five members of the panel voted that the drug’s potential benefits to overweight Americans outweigh risks. Nine voted against the drug’s benefits-to-risks ratio.

The drug, developed by San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., is trying to become the third drug approved by the U.S. as a prescription weight loss treatment.

The same panel Wednesday dealt a blow to Abbott Laboratories diet drug Meridia with half,  or eight members, recommending that the FDA remove it from the market. Other panelists said it should carry additional warnings if it was going to be prescribed at all.

The FDA usually follows the advice of its panels but is not bound to do so.

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