The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an official recall of the weight loss drugs Belviq (lorcaserin) and Belviq XR in February 2020, citing that they are unsafe and may cause cancer. The FDA required the drug manufacturer, Eisai Inc., to remove Belviq products from circulation after clinical trials found increased cancer diagnosis in patients taking the drug, particularly colorectal cancer. The official declaration stated the FDA is “taking this action because we believe that the risks of lorcaserin outweigh its benefits.”
What is Belviq
Created as an add-on to weight loss therapy, including a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise, Belviq was developed to encourage weight loss by reducing the user’s feeling of hunger. The drug was approved for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, and individuals with a BMI of at least 27 and other comorbidities that could increase the risk of heart disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.
Study Shows Belviq May Cause Colorectal Cancer
When initially submitted, Belviq was rejected primarily due to concerns from FDA committee members about research showing tumors in rats that were exposed to the drug. Members of the committee were also against approving the drug as they considered it an ineffective product and did not want to put potential long-term users at risk of any unknown side effects.
Belviq was officially approved in 2012, based on the commitment of the manufacturer Eisai Inc. to conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to ensure that the drug was safe to use. The study was conducted over five years in 12,000 patients and concluded that more Belviq users were diagnosed with cancer than subjects taking the inactive placebo. Notably, this research found that a patient’s cancer risk increased the longer they consumed lorcaserin, and that certain cancers like colorectal cancer were diagnosed more frequently.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and is most often diagnosed in people over 50 years old. Testing shows that Belviq could increase the risk of colorectal cancer in users, which can be found with screening tests. Regular screening tests are essential both to find precancerous growths so they can be eliminated before they become cancer, and to find cancer in its early stages when it can be more easily treated.
Lawsuits against Belviq manufacturers
Victims are filing a slew of lawsuits against Eisai Inc., the manufacturers of Belviq. Cases state that the company failed to properly research side effects of lorcaserin before introducing it to the market, failed to acknowledge the link between the drug and cancer, and delayed its removal from the market.
The FDA recalled Belviq, but for many who have been regularly taking the drug, it may be too late. Those individuals who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer since taking lorcaserin deserve compensation, and our attorneys here at Kwartler Manus, LLC are here to help them receive it.
Several types of cancer were found in the trial, but the most frequent cancers diagnosed in Belviq consumers are:
If you or someone you love have suffered from colorectal cancer as a result of taking the drug Belviq, contact Kwartler Manus online or by phone at (267) 241-8608. We can help you get the justice you deserve and recover damages such as related medical expenses, continuous cancer treatment, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.