One of the most exciting new drugs in dieting is now out on the market.
It is one of the first diet drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in more than a decade.
It's called Belviq. It's different because it tells your brain you are not hungry and not your stomach.
MEET THE PATIENTS
We found three patients taking it. They are letting us tell their story and track their progress over the next few months.
Our first patient is Naomi Flores. She is 47 years old and wants to lose 25 pounds.
Next is Howard Greenseth. He is 80 years old and said he has been overweight most of his life.
"There are few foods I don't like," laughed Howard.
And William Clauson is 51 years old. He wants to lose more than 100 pounds.
"I would always have to have a snack before I go to bed," said William.
All three have already noticed a change in their eating habits.
"By the third day, I really had to think, ‘What do I want? I'm really not hungry,'" said Howard.
"It has taken away all my cravings," said Naomi.
"I forget to eat sometimes. It's now 3 in the afternoon, and I had a half of banana this morning and that's it. And I am not hungry," said William.
America is the second fattest country in the world losing out to Mexico by only 1 percent.
The FDA approved Belviq last year, but manufacturers didn't put it on the market until June 11, 2013.
"Since then, I've written about 240 prescriptions. I've had some really good responses from my patients who say that they are losing weight without side effects," said Dr. Steven Vig who practices Internal Medicine in Tucson.
The drug is recommended for people who are obese, which is an easy category to fit in these days.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's estimated that 36 percent of Americans are obese. That means your body mass index or BMI is more than 30.
"The drug is not a fat burner. It doesn't raise your blood pressure. It doesn't raise your pulse rate. It doesn't make you nervous or anxious or give you insomnia. It simply lowers your appetite, decreases your cravings for food, decreases your hunger, you eat less and then you weigh less," said Dr. Vig.
While most diet drugs work as an appetite suppressant in your stomach, Belviq works as a suppressant in your brain.
"This thing actually targets a receptor in the brain which is very specific for appetite. It is almost like a laser gun going to the appetite center of your brain," said Dr. Vig.
"I don't think it's been given to enough patients and watched over time to be able to prove the safety of the drug," said Dr. Heidi Rula.
She doesn't treat obesity with pills. She said her center uses alternative therapies like chiropractic and acupuncture.
"Integrative medicine is whole person medicine. It looks at mind, body, spirit and lifestyle medicine. We feel lifestyle is incredibly important to health. So, we are going to look into things like nutrition, stress and exercise," said Dr. Rula.
She's not alone. We had trouble finding doctors in the Valley prescribing the new drug.
The ABC15 Investigators called a dozen doctors and several weight loss clinics and found many who wouldn't try it just yet.