The weight-loss drug Belviq (lorcaserin) has been linked with an increased risk for certain cancers. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer following using Belviq, you may be eligible for compensation. Our expert Colorado drug recall attorneys at Bachus & Schanker, LLC are here to help.

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Weight Loss Drug Belviq is Linked to Cancer

The FDA has asked the manufacturers of the weight loss drug Belviq and its subsidiary product Belviq XR to voluntarily recall the medication due to studies that indicate it has been linked to a higher risk of cancer. The study found that the drug was associated with a higher risk of cancer in a small yet statistically significant amount of Belviq users.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer following the usage of Belviq, you may be entitled to compensation. Please continue reading to find out more about Belviq and the study, which found its link with increased cancer risk.

What is Belviq?

Belviq (or lorcaserin) is a drug produced by Arena Pharmaceuticals and manufactured by Eisai Inc. The drug was intended to assist with weight loss in a specific way by reducing appetite through triggering brain receptors that control serotonin, which would artificially create a feeling of satiety. This would allow users of Belviq to reduce over-eating and increase their ability to follow calorie-restricted meal plans.

People who were prescribed Belviq included patients who were clinically obese or overweight, along with patients who had conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The drug was shown to have a correlation with increased success in weight loss programs, both in patients with and without additional conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes.

What Are the Belviq Study Results?

The FDA approved the drug Belviq in 2012. This approval came with the requirement that the manufacturer of the drug, Eisai, would complete a 5-year double-blind clinical trial utilizing a controlled placebo method. Over 5 years, this study involved 12,000 participants; some of these participants were given the placebo while others were given Belviq. Out of all the participants, 96% completed the study to the end. It was the results of that 96% that were evaluated by the FDA.

The original intention of the study was to assess the risk of cardiovascular problems that may be associated with taking Belviq in participants who already had cardiovascular disease or who otherwise had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. On this front, the study found that there was no increased risk for cardiovascular-averse events in patients who were taking Belviq versus patients who were taking the placebo pills.

However, the results showed a different type of risk: an increased risk of cancer for users of Belviq. The double-blind study conducted by the manufacturer of Belviq found that participants who took Belviq had a higher rate of cancer development than participants who took the placebo for the duration of the study.

What Types of Cancers Are Linked to Belviq?

The FDA analysis of the study results found that taking Belviq was associated with a higher risk for several different cancers rather than one specific cancer. However, there were certain cancers which the study found to be significantly more prevalent in the participants who were taking Belviq versus cancers found in participants who were taking the placebo. The cancers most prevalent in Belviq users were lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colorectal cancer.

The study also found that the imbalance between participants who developed cancer with Belviq increased as the length of time taking Belviq increased. Therefore, the longer a patient used Belviq, the higher the potential for an increased cancer development risk.

Did The FDA Recall Belviq?

Based on the findings of the study, which showed an increased risk of cancer in Belviq users, the FDA decided to ask the producers of Belviq to voluntarily recall the drug from the market. The manufacturer agreed to the voluntarily recall request.

In their official website statement regarding the voluntarily recall request of Belviq, the FDA stated:

“We are taking this action because we believe that the risks of lorcaserin outweigh its benefits based on our completed review of results from a randomized clinical trial assessing safety.”

The recall was published on February 13th, 2020, approximately one month after the FDA indicated that there may be a higher cancer risk associated with Belviq. The recall is still effective and is estimated not to be reversed.

What to Do With Your Prescription Belviq Medication?

If you have a Belviq or Belviq XR prescription, the FDA recommends that you cease taking your medication and contact your health care professional regarding your next steps. FDA recommends that anyone who has been prescribed Belviq take their medication to a drug take-back location. If they are unable to do so, they should dispose of the medication safely in the household trash inside a sealed container with all personal information removed.

Your health care professional will likely go over alternative weight loss strategies with you. It is not recommended that patients who took Belviq seek special cancer screenings; only recommended standard cancer screening procedures should be implemented.

What Can You Do if You Were Diagnosed With Cancer After Taking Belviq?

If you or a loved one took Belviq and were later diagnosed with cancer, our Colorado personal injury attorneys can conduct a free evaluation of your case at no charge to you. Please contact us today with your information and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help you receive the compensation you deserve if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer following Belviq use.

We are conveniently located at 5 Colorado locations near you in DenverFort CollinsColorado Springs, Aurora, and Englewood. Please contact us today with any questions you may have regarding your next steps after the FDA recall of Belviq.

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Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.