Belviq (lorcaserin) is a diet drug that was released in the U.S. in 2013.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Belviq induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
UPDATE: FDA Demands Belviq Recall Due to Cancer Risk
In February 2020, the FDA issued a Safety Warning asked the manufacturer of Belviq and Belviq XR to recall the medications after a study found an unacceptable increased risk of cancer.
What Types of Cancer Are Linked to Belviq?
- Pancreatic cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Colon cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
FDA Rejected Belviq Approval in 2010
The FDA previously rejected the approval of Belviq in October of 2010, citing the potential risk of cancer. Arena pharmaceuticals submitted additional safety data showing that the increased risk of tumors in rats would not affect human patients.
Belviq Hits U.S. Market in 2013
Belviq was approved by the FDA in 2012, despite FDA concerns about studies showing higher rates of cancer in rats. June 2013, al exactly one year after receiving approval from the FDA, Arena Pharmaceuticals has announced that Belviq will be available for sale in the U.S. Belviq was apo
Post-Marketing Safety Studies Confirm Increased Cancer Risk
Belviq was approved in 2012, but the FDA required the drug-maker to conduct a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial. The study included 12,000 people over 5 years, ended in June 2018. More patients on Belviq were diagnosed with cancer compared to patients taking an inactive placebo. The FDA believes the risks of using Belviq outweigh its benefits.
What is the Risk of Cancer?
The clinical trial linking Belviq and cancer determined that 1 additional person was diagnosed with cancer per 470 patients who took Belviq for 1 year was observed. Several different types of cancer occurred more frequently among patients on Belviq, including pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancer.
What is Belviq?
Belviq (lorcaserin), developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals and marketed by Eisai Co., Ltd., was approved by the FDA in June 2012. It was the first new weight-loss medication since Fen Phen and Redux were recalled in 1997.
How Does Belviq Work?
Belviq works very similarly to fenfluramine, an ingredient in Fen Phen. Both target the serotonin 2C receptors involved in feelings of fullness and appetite. However, the makers of Belviq claim it is more selective.
In addition to diet and exercise, Belviq helps patients lose weight by targeting serotonin. This makes patients feel satisfied and full, which can help some patients eat less food and lose weight. Clinical studies of Belviq showed the average one-year weight-loss was between 3% and 3.7% of a patient’s total body weight.
What is the problem with Belviq?
Belviq is that it is a new drug with unknown long-term side effects. Serotonin, the neurotransmitter Belviq targets, plays many roles in the body in addition to influencing feelings of fullness — especially in the heart, gastrointestinal system, nervous system, and more.
Medications that adversely influence the serotonin system can have a lot of different side effects. In some cases, long-term side effects like cancer and heart disease do not appear in early studies.
FDA Approves Belviq Despite Cancer Concerns
The drug-makers behind Belviq sought FDA approval for several years before finally gaining it in June 2012. An FDA panel rejected Belviq in October 2010 because of studies in animals linking Belviq and cancer.
Those studies showed that rodents were more likely to develop brain tumors (astrocytoma) and breast cancer after being given doses of Belviq that were 7-times the dose a human would receive. These animal experiments also showed higher rates of heart valve damage in rats who were given Belviq compared to a placebo.
Arena Pharmaceuticals assured the FDA that the tumors were rodent-specific and did not apply to humans. The FDA panel ultimately voted 18-4 to approve Belviq in June 2012, but the agency demanded a follow-up study to fully understand the risk of cancer and heart valve damage.
Belviq and Heart Valve Damage
Heart valve damage is one of the biggest concerns surrounding Belviq because the last two diet drugs, Fen Phen and Redux, caused this side effect in tens of thousands of people before they were recalled in 1997. In clinical trials of Belviq, approximately heart valve damage occurred in 2.4% of Belviq patients, compared to 2% of placebo patients. Furthermore, Belviq patients had decreased heart rate — about 1-2 beats per minute slower than placebo patients.
Do I have a Belviq Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Belviq induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Attention Lawyers: We consider a referral from another law firm to be one of the greatest compliments. If your firm is interested in referring us a case or for us to send you a list of previous award judgments and/or average referral fees, please visit the Lawyer Referral section of our website.