On February 13, 2020 the FDA requested the withdrawal of the weight loss medication Bleviq from the market. The FDA determined the risks of the weight loss medication outweighed the benefits. The post-market studies performed by the manufacturers of Bleviq revealed an increased risk in colon, lung and pancreatic cancer after just a few short months of use. If you or a loved one took Bleviq or Belviq XR and were diagnosed with cancer while using the medication or shortly after, please contact our office for a free attorney consultation.
What is Belviq?
Belviq or Belviq XR (Lorcaserin) is a weight loss drug that first came on the market in 2012. Originally marketed and manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals, a California based company. In 2015, Arena sold all the rights to Belviq and Belviq XR to Eisai Co., a Japanese pharmaceutical company. The product peaked in popularity in 2015, as over 600,000 prescriptions were filled that year.
Belviq and Belviq XR reduce a patient’s appetite by activating a specific type of serotonin receptor in the hypothalamus that is known to control appetite. Belviq and Belviq XR were prescribed to individuals with a BMI greater than 27. Belviq marketing campaign suggested consistent use would result in a 5% weight loss for an overweight patient.
Why is Belviq Dangerous?
Prior to Belviq being approved by the FDA, there were concerns about the safety of the medication. Past weight loss medications had been found to have cardiovascular risks and the FDA required studies related to cardiovascular risks. From 2007 to 2009, Arena conducted rat studies that showed rare and aggressive tumors in rats that took the Belviq medication. In 2010, the FDA rejected the approval of Belviq, but after additional studies, the FDA approved the medication in 2012 by a vote of 9-4.
The FDA required Arena to continue to study Belviq after the 2012 release onto the market. The study was initially conducted to examine how the drug would affect the heart. Twelve thousand patients were enrolled who were either overweight, obese, had heart conditions, or were over 50 years old. The study took five years to complete and yielded findings that those taking the drug had higher cancer rates with continued use.
Although Esai maintains that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks, the company is honoring the FDA’s risk-benefit assessment and has agreed to withdraw the product from the U.S. market. Currently, the company is working closely with the agency to make sure the public remains safe.
Do I qualify for a Belviq Lawsuit?
You may qualify to file suit against the makers of Belviq and Belviq XR if:
- Prescribed Belviq or Belviq XR for at least 3 months
- You were diagnosed with cancer after using Belviq or Belviq XR
- You are under 75 years old
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and you think the illness may be linked to Belviq use, it is advisable to take legal action. If you are looking for an attorney that can address your case specific questions in Illinois and Missouri, Stephanie Lyons is recommended.
Stephanie Lyons has years of experience representing clients in the field of consumer protection. She takes a client-centered approach, treating everyone she takes in with the utmost respect and sympathy. But her aggressive representation ensures justice will be served.
Several products on the market promise successful outcomes, but there may be unknown risks involved. If you have become ill due to a drug you have taken, call Stephanie Lyons first. She will make sure all your legal matters are handled.