Teva Pharmaceuticals this week began selling Belviq, a drug to help extremely obese people to lose weight, on the local market. Belviq, made by US-based Arena Pharmaceuticals, is an FDA-approved prescription weight-loss medication that, when used with diet and exercise, can help individuals with a BMI of greater than 27 lose weight and keep it off.
According to the Israel OECD, obesity rates among adults in Israel were as hight as 16 percent in recent years, up from 12.5 percent in 2002 (based on self-reported height and weight). This is much lower than the rate in the United States (28.6 percent), but still the growing prevalence of obesity foreshadows increases in the occurrence of health problems (such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases) and higher health care costs in the future, the OECD said in a recent report on the state of health in Israel.
According to Arena, Belviq is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obese), or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) and who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia).
Belviq was approved in 2012 by the FDA to help the extremely obese to lose weight. The drug is prescribed as part of an overall diet plan.