Belviq Lawsuit – Weight-loss Drug Recall & Possible Cancer Risk

Weight-loss drug Belviq has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The FDA has announced that its Japanese manufacturer, Eisai has agreed to recall Belviq and Belviq XR from the U.S. market

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Belviq Weight-loss Drug Cancer Lawsuit

Drug manufacturer Eisai, along with the FDA, has issued a voluntary recall of the diet drug Belviq and long-acting Belviq XR after results of a 5-year safety study showed an increased risk of cancer in people who take the medication.

The increased risk involved multiple types of cancer including:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lung cancer

The FDA has advised that users of Belviq should stop taking the medication and should discuss alternative weight-loss medications or methods with their health care providers. The FDA is not currently recommending that additional testing is needed but has stated that the risks of continuing to take the medication outweigh the benefits.

Patients who took Belviq or Belviq XR and who were diagnosed with cancer may be considering filing lawsuits against Eisai to seek compensation for their injuries.

Belviq Weight Management Treatment

Belviq (lorcaserin) is a medication used for chronic weight management. It works as a weight-loss drug by stimulating with the serotonin 2C receptor to produce a feeling of fullness. Belviq was approved to be used as part of a weight management program which included reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity in adult patients with an initial body mass index (BMI) of

  • 30 kg/m² or greater (considered to be obese)
  • 27 kg/m² or greater (considered to be overweight) when the patient also has other weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes

A normal BMI is considered to be 18.5 to 24.9 kg/ m².

Belviq was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 but long-term effects on cardiovascular health have been an ongoing concern in the diet drug field. Upon approval, the FDA required that Eisai conduct a long-term safety study to examine cardiac and other chronic effects.

The results of the five-year study showed an elevated overall cancer rate for the Belviq group compared to the placebo group with extended use.  Reports of pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancer were particularly elevated in Belviq users.

The FDA issued a safety communication in January of 2020 which stated that Belviq and Belviq XR had been linked to cancer. The Agency did not conclude that the increase in cancer rate was directly related to the medication but recommended that health care professionals evaluate the risks of Belviq in comparison to potential benefits when prescribing the medication.

On February 13, 2020, the FDA announced that Belviq’s manufacturer, Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer Eisai, had agreed to withdraw or recall the medication from the U.S. market. Eisai has released a statement denying their agreement with a potential cancer risk but indicated their compliance with the voluntary withdrawal.

The FDA recommended that patients stop taking Belviq and discuss alternative medications or weight-loss methods with their health care providers. They did not recommend that additional cancer screening was required at this time.

Side Effects of Belviq

All medications cause side effects, most of which are mild-to-moderate and will go away with time. Some side effects, however, may be more serious or even life-threatening.

Serious side effects

Serotonin syndrome – Serotonin syndrome may occur due to excessive levels of serotonin in certain areas of the brain and is more likely when certain medications are taken such as antidepressants and other medications affecting serotonin. Symptoms may include changes in mental status, blood pressure, heart rate or rhythm, high temperature, and movement disorders. In severe cases, serotonin syndrome may be serious or even life-threatening.

Cognitive impairment – Some patients have experienced memory loss, attention impairments, confusion, and sleepiness. Patients are cautioned about operating hazardous equipment or driving until they know how the medication will affect them.

Psychiatric disorders – Symptoms of hallucinations, euphoria and dissociation were experienced by some taking Belviq. Prescribing information also recommends monitoring patients for suicidal thoughts and behaviors or worsening of depression and that medication should be discontinued if severe mood changes occur.

Common side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation

Filing a Belviq Cancer Lawsuit

The FDA has announced that Japanese drug maker Eisai Inc. agreed to withdraw diet drug Belviq and Belviq XR after the medication was linked to an increase risk of cancer including colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and lung cancer.

Seeger Weiss is investigating Belviq-related cancer and potential harm that may have come from taking the weight control drug.

A Belviq cancer lawsuit may help victims recover damages for:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability or permanent injury
  • Punitive damages
  • Wrongful death

People or loved ones of those who developed or were diagnosed with cancer after taking Belviq or Belviq XR may be eligible for compensation and should seek advice from legal experts.

Sources:

FDA requests the withdrawal of the weight-loss drug Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin) from the market, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (02/13/2020)

Safety clinical trial shows possible increased risk of cancer with weight-loss medicine Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (01/14/2020)

Weight loss drug Belviq pulled from market over cancer risk, ABC News (02/13/2020)

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