Belviq Cancer Side Effects: Who’s Affected?
- Did you take the weight loss drug Belviq or Belviq XR?
- Did you develop cancer after taking the drug?
- If yes, fill out the form on this page to see if you qualify to take legal action for your pain and suffering.
In February 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the voluntary recall of Belviq and Belviq XR, weight loss drugs manufactured by Eisai Inc.
The Belviq recall was prompted by a safety clinical trial showing the drug may be associated with an increased risk of cancer.
According to the FDA, a range of cancer types were reported in the trial. However, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer reportedly occurred more frequently in Belviq weight loss users.
What Is Belviq?
Lorcaserin, sold under brand names Belviq and Belviq XR, was approved by the FDA in 2012. Lorcaserin is manufactured by Eisai Inc., and was originally developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals.
Belviq is intended as an adjunct (add-on) weight loss therapy. The Belviq diet pill works as a long-term treatment by reducing a person’s feeling of hunger, which could result in weight loss. It is meant to be used alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
The drug is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30, as well as adults with a BMI of 27 and other conditions that may increase cardiovascular risk, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or Type 2 diabetes.
While lorcaserin is used to treat obesity-associated with diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, it is a treatment only for the obesity itself, not any underlying conditions that may have caused or contributed to obesity.
What Are Belviq Side Effects?
Like any drug, there are a number of Belviq side effects. Mild Belviq side effects include the following:
- Dry mouth
More serious but rare complications may include easy bleeding/bruising, enlarged breasts, mental/mood changes, suicidal thoughts, or low blood sugar, among others, according to WebMD.
Belviq has also been linked with an increased risk of various kinds of cancer — which ultimately led to the drug being taken off the market by its manufacturer at the request of the FDA.
Was Belviq FDA Approved?
Before the drug’s approval in 2012, it had been initially rejected by an FDA panel in a 9-to-5 vote, as committee members were concerned about the safety and efficacy of the drug, The New York Times reported. Much of this concern stemmed from the fact that tumors had been found in rats exposed to the drug.
Other members of the panel were less concerned about the potential risks associated with the weight-loss medication, and more because the drug did not appear to be particularly effective in helping people lose weight.
“I really didn’t have a lot of issues with the risk,” panel member and diabetes expert Dr. Eric I. Felner told The New York Times, who voted no on approving the drug. “I just didn’t see it as being that efficacious.”
Indeed, clinical trials found that people taking lorcaserin only lost 3.3 percent more of their weight than those taking a placebo. This is below the 5 percentage point efficacy criterion set by the FDA.
“The argument that there is an urgent need I don’t think really mitigates the concern of putting a drug that doesn’t do much and may do harm on the market,” said committee member Dr. Pamela S. Douglas, professor of research in cardiovascular diseases at Duke University, according to The New York Times.
The FDA’s caution was due in part to the fact that drugs like lorcaserin could be taken long term by millions of people, so any potential side effects could be seriously compounded by long-term exposure and could put countless people at risk.
However, just a few years later, the FDA finally approved lorcaserin, despite its initial concerns about the drug’s potential side effects. But as a part of approving the drug in 2012, the FDA required drug manufacturer Eisai Inc. to conduct a clinical safety trial to monitor patients for cardiovascular risks.
Although this trial was looking for potential cardiovascular problems, the results were unexpected.
What Are the Types of Belviq Cancer?
The safety clinical trial showed Belviq and Belviq XR patients were at a higher risk of developing various forms of cancer, including lung, colon, and pancreatic cancer, according to Medical News Today.
Around 12,000 patients were studied for five years in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, which was actually intended to look for potential cardiovascular risks.
The trial began in January 2014 and ended in June 2018, with patients from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Europe, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.
The study revealed that 7.7 percent of Belviq weight loss patients were diagnosed with cancer. In comparison, only 7.1 percent of the placebo group developed cancer.
Notably, the study found that the imbalance of incidence of cancer increased the longer patients took lorcaserin.
A variety of cancers were recorded in the Belviq diet pill users, although pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer were among the more common cancers developed.
Although the trial revealed a concerning relationship between Belviq and a cancer diagnosis, the FDA is not currently recommending that these patients go through special screening.
Instead, people who took the Belviq diet pill should speak to their healthcare professional about any questions or concerns.
If you or a loved one developed cancer after taking the weight loss drug Belviq, you may qualify to take legal action for the pain and suffering you have experienced. Fill out the form on this page to see if you qualify.
Why Was Belviq Discontinued?
As a result of the increased Belviq cancer risk, Eisai announced it would voluntarily withdraw the medication from the market, according to CNN. The voluntary Belviq recall came after the FDA asked the company to take the weight-loss drug off the market.
“The potential risk of cancer associated with the drug outweighs the benefit of treatment,” Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.
Eisai, headquartered in Japan, noted in an email to CNN that it is voluntarily withdrawing the drug and is “working closely with the [FDA] on the withdrawal process.” However, the company also said it did not agree with the FDA’s take away from the clinical trial’s results.
“Eisai’s interpretation of the data from the CAMELLIA-TIMI 61 trial differs from that of the FDA,” the company said in a statement. “We assess that Belviq and Belviq XR continue to have a positive benefit-risk profile in the patient population for which they are indicated.”
Prior to the voluntary withdrawal of Belviq, the weight-loss medication held the top position for drugs of its kind on the market. Since then, however, Novo Nordisk’s Saxenda has taken over its spot.
Healthcare professionals should immediately stop prescribing Belviq and contact any patients who may be using the drug to inform them of the withdrawal of the drug from the market and warn them about the risks of taking the medication, then work with patients to find safer, alternative weight-loss treatments.
The FDA advises any patients taking lorcaserin should stop using the drug and pursue other methods of weight loss, including other weight-loss medicines and weight-management programs, under the guidance of their health care professionals.
Individuals who developed cancer after taking lorcaserin, Belviq, or Belviq XR are encouraged to report these and other side effects to the FDA’s MedWatch program. Those who still have unused Belviq are directed to take the drug to a takeback location or dispose of the medication in a safe way.
The FDA says safe disposal methods include mixing the pills (uncrushed) in an unappealing substance like dirt or cat litter, placing the mixture in a sealed container or plastic bag, and/or throwing away the container in the trash.
Before throwing away empty medicine bottles or packaging, consumers should remove any personal information on the label.
Can You Get a Belviq Recall Refund?
Following the 2020 Belviq recall, numerous patients have been left wondering if they can receive a refund if their Belviq medication has been recalled.
There is no simple answer, as it all depends on your pharmacy and the arrangement they have with the wholesaler from which they purchased the medication.
The best thing consumers can do is check with their pharmacy to see if it is offering a Belviq recall refund.
What Belviq Cancer Lawsuits Are Being Filed?
Belviq cancer lawsuits may be filed by those who took this weight-loss drug and have since developed cancer, especially lung cancer, colon cancer, or pancreatic cancer. Plaintiffs in Belviq cancer lawsuits may be able to hold the manufacturer, Eisai Pharmaceuticals, accountable for these or other side effects they suffer due to using the weight-loss medication.
Belviq lawsuits may allege the company failed to fully and completely research the side effects of Belviq before introducing it to the market, failed to recognize the link between Belviq and cancer, and delayed the withdrawal of the drug from the market.
Plaintiffs may be able to file individual cancer lawsuits or wrongful death lawsuits over their diagnosis with cancer or the death of a loved one.
How to Join a Belviq Cancer Class Action Lawsuit
Individuals who developed any of the cancers listed on this page or any other form of the deadly disease may have been faced with significant costs.
Taking legal action with the help of a Belviq lawyer may help patients recover some of these costs if their cancer was a result of taking the Belviq weight loss pill.
Join a Belviq Cancer Lawsuit Investigation
If you took Belviq and developed cancer, you may be able to join a Belviq cancer class action lawsuit investigation.
Filing a Belviq lawsuit can be a daunting prospect, especially while dealing with a cancer diagnosis, so Top Class Actions has laid the groundwork for you by connecting you with an experienced Belviq lawyer.
Consulting a highly skilled attorney who is experienced in filing drug lawsuits can help you determine if you have a claim, navigate the complexities of litigation, and maximize your potential compensation with a Belviq lawsuit.
Fill out the form on this page for a FREE case evaluation.
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Join A Belviq Cancer Class Action Lawsuit Investigation
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