The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took the weight-loss drug Belviq, Belviq XR off the market after a safety clinical trial showed a potential cancer risk. The drug, also known as Lorcaserin, was manufactured by Eisai Inc. and was approved back in 2012. Part of the approval process included a clinical trial, which the drug passed, but later studies showed that people taking the drug which was meant for weight-loss, saw a .6% cancer risk increase.
Below are the six things as a consumer you should know about the drug’s recall, and what your options are if you have been taking Belviq or Belviq XR.
- Dispose of Your Medication: Even though the risk of cancer is very low, the FDA has asked for patients to dispose of Belviq (Lorcaserin) as soon as possible. The FDA recommends taking the unused pills to a drug take-back location. If reaching a location is difficult, people can dispose of the pills at home by mixing them with dirt or cat litter, but not crushing them. Another option is to place the pills in a plastic bag or throw away the pill container in your trash can.
- Cancer Link: A five-year study found that Belviq patients had a higher rate of developing cancer than a placebo group they tested. With incidence rates of 7.7% versus 7.1%. The study also found these concerning risks were linked to colorectal, pancreatic, and lung cancers. The study was done after observing the patients for one year.
- Lawsuits Filed: Shortly after the FDA removed Belviq, people began to file Belviq cancer lawsuits due to the cancer risk. The claims are still in the early stages and the company is battling the study claiming they are interpreting the data differently. There has been no major verdict or settlement in these lawsuits.
- Reporting Side Effects: Any medication side effects can be reported to the FDA. Patients can share worries with health professionals and they will alert the FDA.
- The Role of Health Care Professionals: Doctors should completely stop prescribing Belviq & Belviq XR (locaserin) to patients. If someone is already taking the medicine, they should also be told to stop immediately. The FDA does say they are not recommending special screening for patients who have taken Belviq, but standard screening recommendations for cancer should be implemented.
- Qualifying for a Belviq Cancer Lawsuit: According to mass tort lawyers, patients are eligible to file a lawsuit against Eisai if they have taken Belviq for more than 3 months. If they were recently diagnosed with the cancers linked to the medication, and if they were younger than 60 years old when diagnosed with cancer.
If you believe that you may be at risk of developing cancer after taking Belviq (locaserin), speak to your health care professional, and then consider speaking to a legal professional who can help you figure out if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.