Belviq and Belviq XR, is a popular weight-loss drug that doctors prescribe to aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and reduce the risk of a shortened lifespan due to weight-related issues. After years of use, the FDA requested a voluntary recall of Belviq after clinical trials showed that the potential risk of cancer, all in all, outweighs the benefits.
What is Belviq?
Belviq, also known as lorcaserin, is a weight loss drug that clinically overweight people use who are suffering from obesity or other weight-related medical issues. The FDA approved Belviq in 2012. The drug reduces appetite by activating a type of serotonin receptor in a region of the brain, which controls appetite. People take Belviq orally in 10mg tablets twice a day in order to combat weight issues.
There are many advertised side effects of Belviq such as:
- Low blood sugar
- Mental problems
- Slow heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Back pain
- Painful erections
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
On February 13th, 2020, the FDA issued a request for a voluntary recall of Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin) from the manufacturer as the safety clinical trials showed a higher risk of cancer in patients. All in all, the FDA believes the risks of the drug outweigh the benefits which is why the voluntary recall was issued. Furthermore, Belviq users began filing lawsuits for three distinct types of cancer after the FDA announcement, including:
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
The Belviq Trials
The FDA began trials beginning in January 2014 over the course of 5 years with 12,000 men and women who were clinically overweight or obese. The FDA initially began to search for cardiovascular safety issues in the trials. However, they also began to investigate the diagnosis of cancer among people who took the drug versus those who took the placebo.
According to the studies, the group taking the drug had a slight increase in the rate of cancers compared to those who took a placebo (7.7% of subjects developed cancer, compared to 7.1% in the placebo group). Additionally, the studies were showing increases in several different types of cancers such as pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancers.
The Belviq Lawsuit
After a recall of a drug, lawsuits generally follow claiming injuries due to usage of the drug. The current manufacturer of Belviq is Eisai Inc. which is a Japanese pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Eisai is also being held responsible in the lawsuits and has voluntarily withdrawn the drug. Because Belviq is still in the preliminary stages of the lawsuit, there is currently no MDL (Multi-district Litigation) established for the cases. Additionally, there have been no verdicts or settlements yet.