Belviq partners up with phentermine

Eisai's experiment with Belviq add-on weight-loss therapy is underway. MedPage Today reports that the two-part medication includes relative weight-loss newcomer Belviq with the older appetite suppressant phentermine, which was part of the disastrous combination weight-loss drug Fen-phen.

Despite the negative connotation, MedPage says the trial mix has been dubbed Belphen. The 12-week trial started in October and was sponsored by drug partners Arena and Eisai.

MedPage says the 225-patient study is a safety trial, and that the impact on weight loss and waist circumference are secondary endpoints. The study does not include a placebo group, nor does it include a echocardiogram, because Belviq's cardiovascular safety profile was sufficient for FDA approval.

The majority of experts told MedPage that they were OK with this study's lack of a cardiovascular component—phentermine was not considered the reason for Fen-Phen's heart damage. However, not everyone is sure this is the smartest way to go.

“This... looks a lot like an opportunity to repeat the dangerous follies of history,” Yale University's Prevention Research Center's David Katz told MedPage.

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