Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

Belviq Smoking Trial Being Misunderstood

|Includes: Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA)

I received fourteen communications about a clinical trial conducted by the Mayo Clinic that involved Chantix and Belviq. Out of fourteen communications only 1 properly assessed or properly represented the trial. Incredibly, the vast majority saw this trial as one in which Belviq was being assessed for smoking cessation or that it was a trial pitting Belviq against Chantix. Even more incredible was that about half felt that the results of the trial were "GREAT" even though the trial results have not been published. Further, I had a number of people insinuate that this is a phase 1 and a phase 2 study when in fact it was a rather simple pilot study.

One needs to only look at the title of the trial to understand that this was not a trial about using Belviq for smoking cessation, nor was it head to head, nor was it a phase 1 or phase 2 study.

"Lorcaserin for Preventing Weight Gain Among Smokers Receiving Varenicline: A Pilot Study"

The title of the trial is very clear. It is assessing the ability of Belviq in the prevention weight gain among smokers.

The study was with 20 people and no placebo group. All 20 people received BOTH Belviq and Chantix.

This will be an open label clinical trial with all subjects receiving both lorcaserin and varenicline. The investigators will obtain preliminary data on the efficacy of lorcaserin (10 mg twice daily) for 12 weeks in 20 adult weight-concerned cigarette smokers with a BMI of 27 to 40 simultaneously receiving 12 weeks of open-label varenicline and a behavioral intervention to assist with stopping smoking. Secondary aims will be weight, waist circumference, and smoking cessation.

For clarity and simplicity...

There were 20 people enrolled that took BOTH Chantix and Belviq for 12 weeks. Assessments were made after 1 year.

It is good that such a study happened. Without knowing the results, there is not much we can garner from it. What we do know is that the study was not designed as a head to head comparison of Belviq and Chantix, and in fact, the involvement of Belviq in the trial was not geared toward the use of Belviq for smoking cessation.

The lesson here is simple. Look deeper, research better, and keep things grounded in reality.

Disclosure: The author is long ARNA.