Belviq Lawsuit – Weight Loss Drug Cancer
Japanese drug maker Eisai issued a recall on Feb. 13, 2020 of the so-called diet drug Belviq, along with the allegedly “long-acting” Belviq XR. The FDA and Eisai announced the recall after results from a five-year safety study showed an increased risk of cancer in those taking Belviq and Belviq XR.
Increased Cancer Risk includes:
- Pancreatic cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
The FDA has advised Belviq users to quit taking the medication and discuss weight loss alternatives with health care providers. The FDA is not recommending additional testing of the drug; but it has stated that the risks of continuing the medication outweigh the benefits.
Patients who took Belviq or Belviq XR and were later diagnosed with pancreatic, colorectal, or lung cancer may consider filing lawsuits against Eisai to seek compensation for related injuries.
What is Belviq?
Belviq (lorcaserin) is a medication used for chronic weight management. It works as a weight-loss drug by stimulating the serotonin 2C receptor so that it produces a feeling of fullness. Belviq was approved for use by the FDA as part of a weight management program that included a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity in adult patients with an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m² or greater (considered to be obese); or a BMI of 27 kg/m² or greater (considered to be overweight), when the patient also has other weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes.
A “normal” or healthy BMI lies between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/ m².
Belviq Cardiovascular Concerns
Belviq was approved by the FDA in 2012; but long-term effects on cardiovascular health have been an ongoing concern for Belviq and similar drugs prescribed for diet issues. The FDA required upon approval that Eisai conduct a long-term safety study to examine cardiac and other chronic effects.
Results from the five-year study showed an elevated overall cancer rate for the Belviq group compared to the placebo group with extended use. Reports of pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancer were particularly elevated in Belviq users.
FDA safety Warning
In January 2020, the FDA issued a safety communication which stated that Belviq and Belviq XR had been linked to cancer. The Agency did not conclude that the increase in cancer rate was directly related to the medication, but nevertheless recommended that health care professionals weigh the risks of Belviq against potential benefits when prescribing it.
On February 13, 2020, the FDA announced that Eisai had agreed to withdraw or recall the medication from the U.S. market. The Japanese company released a statement disputing that Belviq showed an increased cancer risk, but indicated it would comply with the voluntary withdrawal.
The FDA did not recommend additional cancer screening at this time.
Serious side effects
- Serotonin syndrome — may occur due to excessive levels of serotonin in certain areas of the brain. It’s more likely to occur with certain medications such as antidepressants and other meds affecting serotonin. Symptoms may include changes in mental status, blood pressure, heart rate or rhythm, high temperature, and movement disorders. In severe cases, serotonin syndrome may be life-threatening.
- Cognitive impairment – Some patients have experienced memory loss, attention impairments, confusion, sleepiness. Patients are cautioned about operating hazardous equipment or driving while on Belviq.
- Psychiatric disorders – Some Belviq users experienced symptoms of hallucinations, euphoria, and dissociation. Prescribing information recommends monitoring patients for suicidal thoughts and behaviors or worsening of depression, warns users to cease medication if severe mood changes occur.
Common side effects:
- Dry mouth
The FDA announced February 13, 2020 that Japanese drug maker Eisai Inc. agreed to withdraw diet drugs Belviq and Belviq XR after they were linked with an increase risk of cancer — including colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lung cancer.
Matthews & Associates is investigating Belviq-related cancer cases and other potential injuries that may have resulted from one’s taking the weight loss medication. We offer a free legal consultation regarding a potential Belviq lawsuit. People or loved ones of those who were diagnosed with cancer after taking Belviq or Belviq XR may be eligible for financial compensation.
A Belviq cancer lawsuit may help victims recover damages for:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or permanent injury
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death