The weight-loss drugs Belviq (lorcaserin) and Belviq XR were recalled in February, after clinical trials showed that the drug may cause pancreatic cancer, among other types of cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the drug’s manufacturer to withdraw all Belviq products from the market, stating in the official declaration that the FDA is “taking this action because we believe that the risks of lorcaserin outweigh its benefits.”
What is Belviq?
Lorcaserin was developed to be taken in conjunction with completing other aspects of weight-loss therapy, including increased physical activity and a diet lower in calories. The drug was intended to help with losing weight by reducing the patient’s feeling of hunger, allowing them to more easily adhere to their food guidelines. Belviq was initially approved for adults considered medically obese, as well as medically overweight adults who have other conditions that can increase cardiovascular risks such as high blood pressure or cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Belviq was rejected by the FDA after its first submission, primarily due to FDA committee members concerned about research showing tumors in rats exposed to the drug. Other committee members rejected the submission simply because they considered Lorcaserin ineffective and didn’t want to put any potential long-term users under the risk of unknown side effects.
Clinical Trial Shows Belviq May Cause Pancreatic Cancer
The FDA ultimately approved Belviq in 2012, under the condition that drug manufacturer Eisai Inc., conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to confirm that the drug was safe. This five-year trial concluded that of the 12,000 patients participating, more patients who took Belviq received a cancer diagnosis than those who took the inactive placebo. In addition, the study determined that certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, occurred more frequently, and cancer risk increased the longer the patient consumed the drug.
A large percent of trial patients who developed cancer after consuming Belviq were specifically diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which comprises 3 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that of the 57,600 people who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020, over 80 percent will die of the disease.
Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed slightly more often in men. It most commonly shows up in the exocrine glands of the pancreas, which create digestive enzymes and make up the majority of the organ. A smaller portion of the pancreas is made of hormone-producing endocrine cells, which can develop into neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer.
Lawsuits against Belviq manufacturers
Victims of pancreatic cancer are currently filing lawsuits against lorcaserin manufacturers, stating that taking the drug led to their sickness. These actions bring several accusations against Eisai Inc., including the failure to conduct proper research of Belviq and Belviq XR side effects before releasing the drug, failure to publicly recognize an association between Belviq and cancer, and the intentional postponement of eliminating it from circulation.
The trial found more than a few types of cancer in participants, but the cancers most frequently diagnosed in those who took Belviq are:
Though the FDA recalled Belviq, it may be too late for those consumers who had already been taking the drug regularly. If you or someone you love were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Belviq, the experienced attorneys at Kwartler Manus LLC. can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve. Our Belviq mass tort attorneys will guide you through the litigation process and recover damages like continuous cancer treatment, pain and suffering, and related medical expenses. Contact us online or give our office a call at (267) 214-8608 today.