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      Multicenter, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Lorcaserin for Weight Management

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          Abstract

          Lorcaserin is a selective serotonin 2C receptor agonist that could be useful in reducing body weight. In this double-blind clinical trial, we randomly assigned 3182 obese or overweight adults (mean body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters] of 36.2) to receive lorcaserin at a dose of 10 mg, or placebo, twice daily for 52 weeks. All patients also underwent diet and exercise counseling. At week 52, patients in the placebo group continued to receive placebo but patients in the lorcaserin group were randomly reassigned to receive either placebo or lorcaserin. Primary outcomes were weight loss at 1 year and maintenance of weight loss at 2 years. Serial echocardiography was used to identify patients in whom valvulopathy (as defined by the Food and Drug Administration) developed. At 1 year, 55.4% of patients (883 of 1595) receiving lorcaserin and 45.1% of patients (716 of 1587) receiving placebo remained in the trial; 1553 patients continued into year 2. At 1 year, 47.5% of patients in the lorcaserin group and 20.3% in the placebo group had lost 5% or more of their body weight (P<0.001), corresponding to an average loss of 5.8+/-0.2 kg with lorcaserin and 2.2+/-0.1 kg with placebo during year 1 (P<0.001). Among the patients who received lorcaserin during year 1 and who had lost 5% or more of their baseline weight at 1 year, the loss was maintained in more patients who continued to receive lorcaserin during year 2 (67.9%) than in patients who received placebo during year 2 (50.3%, P<0.001). Among 2472 patients evaluated at 1 year and 1127 evaluated at 2 years, the rate of cardiac valvulopathy was not increased with the use of lorcaserin. Among the most frequent adverse events reported with lorcaserin were headache, dizziness, and nausea. The rates of serious adverse events in the two groups were similar. In conjunction with behavioral modification, lorcaserin was associated with significant weight loss and improved maintenance of weight loss, as compared with placebo. (Funded by Arena Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00395135.) 2010 Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Most cited references 17

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          Activation of central melanocortin pathways by fenfluramine.

          D-fenfluramine (d-FEN) was once widely prescribed and was among the most effective weight loss drugs, but was withdrawn from clinical use because of reports of cardiac complications in a subset of patients. Discerning the neurobiology underlying the anorexic action of d-FEN may facilitate the development of new drugs to prevent and treat obesity. Through a combination of functional neuroanatomy, feeding, and electrophysiology studies in rodents, we show that d-FEN-induced anorexia requires activation of central nervous system melanocortin pathways. These results provide a mechanistic explanation of d-FEN's anorexic actions and indicate that drugs targeting these downstream melanocortin pathways may prove to be effective and more selective anti-obesity treatments.
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            5-HT2CRs Expressed by Pro-Opiomelanocortin Neurons Regulate Energy Homeostasis

            Summary Drugs activating 5-hydroxytryptamine 2C receptors (5-HT2CRs) potently suppress appetite, but the underlying mechanisms for these effects are not fully understood. To tackle this issue, we generated mice with global 5-HT2CR deficiency (2C null) and mice with 5-HT2CRs re-expression only in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons (2C/POMC mice). We show that 2C null mice predictably developed hyperphagia, hyperactivity, and obesity and showed attenuated responses to anorexigenic 5-HT drugs. Remarkably, all these deficiencies were normalized in 2C/POMC mice. These results demonstrate that 5-HT2CR expression solely in POMC neurons is sufficient to mediate effects of serotoninergic compounds on food intake. The findings also highlight the physiological relevance of the 5-HT2CR-melanocortin circuitry in the long-term regulation of energy balance.
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              Serotonin 5-HT2C receptor agonist promotes hypophagia via downstream activation of melanocortin 4 receptors.

              The neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a well-established modulator of energy balance. Both pharmacological and genetic evidence implicate the serotonin 2C receptor (5-HT(2C)R) as a critical receptor mediator of serotonin's effects on ingestive behavior. Here we characterized the effect of the novel and selective 5-HT(2C)R agonist BVT.X on energy balance in obese and lean mice and report that BVT.X significantly reduces acute food intake without altering locomotor activity or oxygen consumption. In an effort to elucidate the mechanism of this effect, we examined the chemical phenotype of 5-HT(2C)R-expressing neurons in a critical brain region affecting feeding behavior, the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. We show that 5-HT(2C)Rs are coexpressed with neurons containing proopiomelanocortin, known to potently affect appetite, in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus of the mouse. We then demonstrate that prolonged infusion with BVT.X in obese mice significantly increases Pomc mRNA and reduces body weight, percent body fat, and initial food intake. To evaluate the functional importance of melanocortin circuitry in the effect of BVT.X on ingestive behavior, we assessed mice with disrupted melanocortin pathways. We report that mice lacking the melanocortin 4 receptor are not responsive to BVT.X-induced hypophagia, demonstrating that melanocortins acting on melanocortin 4 receptor are a requisite downstream pathway for 5-HT(2C)R agonists to exert effects on food intake. The data presented here not only indicate that the novel 5-HT(2C)R agonist BVT.X warrants further investigation as a treatment for obesity but also elucidate specific neuronal pathways potently affecting energy balance through which 5-HT(2C)R agonists regulate ingestive behavior.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                July 15 2010
                July 15 2010
                : 363
                : 3
                : 245-256
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa0909809
                20647200
                © 2010
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