London: A 'drop-a-dress-size' diet pill could be on sale within months as an American company has applied for permission to sell lorcaserin under the brand name Belviq to adults in UK and Europe. If given on the green light, it wants to produce a version for children as well, a daily reported.

Given to boys and girls as young as six, the twice-a-day drug that acts on the brain to curb appetite could be a flavoured syrup, a chewy pill or a tablet that dissolves in the mouth.

The creation of paediatric formulations of new medicines is now required by law but the idea that children could be fed drugs which act on the brain to make them lose weight has horrified experts.

In a study of 7,000 people, dieters who took the pill for a year lost an average of 8 per cent and in extreme cases up to 40 percent.

Some dieters suffered side-effects including headaches for a fortnight, dizziness or nausea but the drug appeared free of the cardiac and psychiatric problems that caused other drugs to be pulled from the shelves.

Lorcaserin, which is taken before breakfast and dinner, affects the way the brain uses serotonin, which regulates appetite, making those who take it feel less hungry.

The drug's Californian manufacturer, Arena, has applied for permission to sell it to adults in Europe and hopes to get the green light in the first half of 2013 and could go on sale shortly afterwards.

In line with EU regulations, Arena has drawn up plans for a paediatric version of lorcaserin for six to 18-year-olds.


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