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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A much anticipated prescription drug released to the public today may help combat obesity in America.

Eisai Inc., the makers of a new prescription weight loss drug Belviq, just announced the products availability. FDA approved the pill last June to be used with increased physical activity and a low calorie diet. The drug helps for weight management in overweight and obese adults with health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes.

Belviq affects chemicals in the brain that are tied to appetite. If paired with healthy habits, the drug can instigate weight loss. Belviq is only available with a valid doctor's prescription.

Over the past 20 years, the number of Americans considered overweight or obese has sky rocketed. Adults considered overweight have a BMI of 27, while obese adults have a BMI of 30or higher. Obese Americans make up an astounding 1/3 of the US population. The overweight epidemic has affected all areas of the United States, butitis highest in the South at 29.5%.

Belviq will not be prescribed to those who are pregnant, nursing, allergic to locaserin, or already using multiple drugs.

Patients are cautioned notto buy Belviq from outside parties who are offering the drug without a prescription.

9News' Anita Brikman talks to Dr. Maryjane Hynes ofGW Medical Faculty Associatesabout Belviq and more of the latest weight loss issues. Tosee the interview, click the video link on the page.

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