Belviq and Belviq XR are medications prescribed, in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise, to help overweight patients lose weight. However, Belviq and Belviq XR were pulled off the market in 2020 due to safety concerns over the weight loss drugs’ link to a higher risk of developing cancer.
If you took Belviq or Belviq XR on a regular basis and have been diagnosed with cancer, you should talk with a lawyer about your legal options. Going through cancer treatment is one of life’s most stressful and challenging ordeals.
You shouldn’t have to worry about how to pay for treatment. You may have a right to file a Belviq cancer lawsuit and seek compensation for your medical bills, as well as your pain and suffering and emotional anguish related to cancer treatment.
Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm have the resources and courtroom experience to take on major companies and pursue complex cases. Our attorneys are currently evaluating Belviq cancer cases in South Carolina. Our law firm has been representing South Carolinians for more than 50 years.
Call 877-941-1019 for a free consultation or use our online contact form.
What is Belviq?
Belviq was originally developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego. It was manufactured and marketed by Eisai Co. Ltd., which is a Japanese company.
The medication, which is known as the generic lorcaserin, was initially denied a favorable recommendation in 2010 by a Food and Drug Administration review panel. Some members of the advisory panel expressed concerns about the safety of the drug based on clinical studies showing tumors in rats.
Two years later, however, the manufacturer resubmitted the application. Belviq received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2012.
Eisai said Belviq was the first weight-loss drug approved in the U.S. in more than 10 years. It was sold in two formulations, Belviq and Belviq XR, an extended-release version.
The medication was intended to help overweight people lose weight and to keep from regaining the weight lost, when used in conjunction with diet and exercise. The drug affects a part of the brain that controls appetite and increases feelings of fullness.
In evaluating Belviq, the FDA looked at the result of a series of clinical trials that examined the drug’s effects on weight loss and its safety. As a condition of approval, the FDA required a follow-up study.
The follow-up study involved 12,000 overweight people who took the drug or a placebo. It detected a slight increase in the occurrence of cancers among patients who took Belviq compared to those taking the placebo.
The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that approximately, 7.7 percent of the people taking Belviq developed some type of cancer.
Why Did the Belviq Recall Happen?
Based on the published studies, the Food and Drug Administration decided that the risks of taking Belviq or Belviq XR outweighed the benefits of the drugs. In February 2020, the FDA asked the manufacturer of Belviq to recall the products from the U.S. market.
Eisai said that it disagreed with the FDA’s interpretation of the clinical trial data and contended that the drug still offered a positive benefit. But the company complied with the FDA request and announced a voluntary recall of the product from the U.S. market. Neither Belviq nor Belviq XR are available in the U.S.
The FDA requested the recall of Belviq and Belviq XR because studies showed that people who had taken the weight loss medications had a higher rate of cancer five years later.
There was no difference in rates of cancer detected among study participants in the first months of taking the drug. The differences became more pronounced among patients who had taken the drug for a long period of time.