Earlier this year, weight-loss drug Belviq (lorcaserin) was pulled off shelves at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which flagged it as a potential cancer risk.
Belviq manufacturer Eisai Inc., which is based in Japan, complied with the FDA’s requests. However, it said in a statement that it still believed Belviq’s benefits outweighed the risk.
“Based on the extensive lorcaserin clinical data, the Company believes that Belviq and Belviq XR continue to have a positive benefit-risk profile in the patient population for which they are indicated,” a statement on their website reads.
Recently, Eisai Inc. urged a Louisiana court to toss out a lawsuit against Belviq on technical grounds, saying that her claims are not adequately pleaded or recognized by the state’s product liability law. The plaintiff, Stephanie Fuller, alleges that her breast cancer diagnosis is linked to her use of Belviq.
In June, the company was also hit by a federal court lawsuit filed by a New York woman who alleges that Belviq caused her thyroid cancer.
This is in addition to multiple other lawsuits, including a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges that Belviq’s medical risk, including cancer risk, far outweighs any medical benefit offered by it.
The Belviq Cancer Link
The FDA approved Belviq in 2012. An extended release version called Belviq XR was also approved for use.
According to Eisai Inc., Belviq is approved for use in adults with a BMI of 30, or those with a BMI of 27 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or Type 2 diabetes. It was the first weight loss drug which helped people lose weight without increasing heart disease risks.
Eisai Inc. was required by the FDA to conduct a five-year, 12,000 patient study to check if Belviq had any cardiovascular effects, or adverse impacts on heart health. But no tests were conducted to check for cancer risk or heightened risk for other diseases.
A recent FDA analysis of data from a study concluded that 7.7% of study participants who took Belviq later received a cancer diagnosis. This is more than the 7.1% who were diagnosed with cancer in a control group. Cancers like pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancer were reported at higher rates among individuals who used Belviq than those who did not.
The FDA has asked members of the public to refrain from taking Belviq. It has also said that any remaining pills should be thrown away, and patients should seek advice from their doctors on safer weight-loss alternatives. Doctors have also been asked to not prescribe the drug, and warn any patients who are already taking it.
Harmful Weight Loss Methods
Belviq was an FDA-approved weight-loss drug that still had harmful side-effects. There are many other weight loss methods on the market which are equally dangerous and can ruin your health and well-being.
The FDA keeps a list of tainted weight loss products, which are over-the-counter weight loss supplements laced with hidden ingredients. These may include prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and unstudied pharmaceutically-active ingredients.
Some of these weight-loss products are:
- Detox Plus
- Skinny Pill
- SlimBio Capsules
- In Shape
- BodySlim Herbal
- Easy 2 Slim
The CDC reports that the prevalence of obesity in the United States was at 42.4% between 2017-2018. Clearly this is an epidemic that needs to be controlled. But ensure that the drugs or supplements you are taking do not have dangerous side effects which may contribute to diseases like cancer or even death. Speak to a licensed medical practitioner and check the FDA’s comprehensive drug recall database to check if any proposed medication is on it.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
We Can Help You
If you have taken Belviq and are now diagnosed with cancer, seek help and guidance. Reaching out to a lawyer experienced in handling drug injury cases will help you understand your legal options, and how you can pursue compensation for your pain and suffering.
The drug injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins have decades of experience handling drug injury cases. Contact us for a free consultation today. You don’t pay us anything until you receive a settlement.