The popular prescription weight loss drug Belviq has been tied to an increased risk of cancer in users and has been removed from the market in the United States due to the elevated cancer risk. Former Belviq and Belviq XR users began filing legal claims against the manufacturer of Belviq shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that the company remove Belviq and Belviq XR from the market in February 2020. If you or someone you love took Belviq to lose weight and ended up being diagnosed with lung cancer, pancreatic cancer or colorectal cancer, know that you may have grounds to file a Belviq cancer lawsuit against the drug manufacturer. Contact our consumer advocates at Consumer Justice Foundation today to find out how we can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable Belviq cancer lawyer.
Individuals who are considered “obese” have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher and are at risk for a number of other serious medical conditions, specifically type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and premature death. Obese or severely overweight individuals struggling to lose weight with diet and exercise alone often turn to diet supplements or weight loss medications like Belviq that promise to help with chronic weight management. Unfortunately, many of these medications, Belviq included, come with a potential risk of major complications. For overweight or obese individuals hoping to avoid putting themselves at risk for serious side effects by taking a dangerous or defective medication, the following are some natural, fat-burning alternatives to taking Belviq to boost your weight-loss efforts:
Belviq (lorcaserin) was a prescription medication approved by the FDA in 2012 for use in combination with increased physical activity and a reduced-calorie diet to stimulate weight loss in adults who are obese or those who are overweight and also have at least one weight-related medical problems, such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension. The drug, which was available as a tablet and in extended-release form, was believed to work by selectively activating serotonin 2C receptors in the brain, thereby increasing feelings of fullness and decreasing food consumption and helping patients lose weight. Prior to being removed from the market, Belviq was marketed and distributed in the United States by Tokyo-based drug maker Eisai Inc.
Belviq has been on the market in the United States for only eight years, yet it has already been pulled from shelves due to the finding that the weight loss drug was associated with increased rates of cancer among users. So far, the types of cancer that have been linked to Belviq and Belviq XR include the following:
Researchers are also examining a possible connection between Belviq and other types of cancer, including breast cancer and brain cancer.
At the time Belviq was approved, the FDA required Eisai Inc. to conduct a clinical trial to assess the potential risk of cardiovascular problems associated with the weight loss drug. The clinical trial (Cardiovascular and Metabolic Effects of Lorcaserin in Overweight and Obese Patients – Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 61, or CAMELLIA-TIMI 61) involved 12,000 patients in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South America, New Zealand, the Bahamas and Mexico who were overweight or obese and took place over a five-year span, from January 2014 through June 2018. Rather than exposing an increased risk of cardiac side effects among Belviq users however, the trial found that more patients taking lorcaserin were diagnosed with cancer compared to those taking a placebo, or inactive treatment. According to the FDA, a range of cancers were reported in connection with Belviq treatment, including pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
In January 2020, the FDA announced that it was reviewing the data from the CAMELLIA-TIMI 61 clinical trial and warned lorcaserin (Belviq) users that they could potentially face an increased risk of cancer, based on a preliminary analysis of the data. “At this time, the cause of the cancer is uncertain, and we cannot conclude that lorcaserin contributes to the cancer risk,” the FDA stated in the drug safety communication. “However, we wanted to make the public aware of this potential risk. We are continuing to evaluate the clinical trial results and will communicate our final conclusions and recommendations when we have completed our review.” The following month, after completing a full review of the clinical trial data, the FDA requested that Eisai Inc. voluntarily withdrawal the diet drug. “We are taking this action because we believe that the risks of lorcaserin outweigh its benefits based on our completed review of results from a randomized clinical trial assessing safety,” the FDA announcement stated.
The Belviq cancer litigation is still in its early stages. Product liability lawyers are currently reviewing cases on behalf of former Belviq users who allege that the diet drug caused their cancer diagnosis, but there have been no verdicts or major settlements yet. The drug injury lawsuits involve claims by patients who developed lung, pancreatic or colorectal cancer after using Belviq or Belviq XR for six months or more, and seek to hold Eisai Inc. accountable for their losses. People who took Belviq or Belviq XR and subsequently developed cancer, or those who lost a loved one to cancer allegedly caused by the weight loss medication, should speak with an experienced attorney to determine whether they may be entitled to compensation through a Belviq cancer lawsuit.
January 2020 – The FDA warns in a drug safety communication that there is a possible increased risk of cancer associated with the weight loss drug Belviq and Belviq XR.
February 2020 – The FDA calls for Belviq and Belviq XR to be withdrawn from the market based on clinical trial data showing an increased occurrence of cancer among Belviq users. The agency encourages patients to stop using Belviq and talk to their healthcare providers about alternative weight loss options.
Drug manufacturing companies are responsible for the safety of their medications and should be held accountable for any harm users suffer as a result of the medications they develop and make available to consumers. If the makers of Belviq and Belviq XR were aware of serious, potentially life-threatening side effects linked to Belviq, like cancer, and failed to provide users and the medical community with adequate warnings, they may be liable for damages. Future lawsuits filed against Eisai Inc. over Belviq-related injuries are expected to raise the following allegations:
Obesity remains a serious public health problem in the United States and other countries. More than 40% of American adults are obese and the obesity epidemic has only gotten worse over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, there are limited treatment options for obesity beyond diet and exercise and many overweight individuals end up taking diet drugs like Belviq to manage their weight. Because Belviq users were not adequately informed about the link between the weight loss drug and cancer, they were not able to make an informed decision about whether the potential risk of cancer outweighed the weight loss benefits of the medication. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer or another type of cancer you believe to be related to the popular weight loss drug Belviq, do not hesitate to seek legal representation. Our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation are committed to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by dangerous and defective medications and we can help put you in touch with an attorney who specializes in drug injury claims.