Belviq

  • Belviq

Lorcaserin is a prescription weight loss drug developed to treat obesity, approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012, marketed under the brand name Belviq. Belviq was developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals. However, the rights to the drug were sold to the Japanese drugmaker, Eisai Inc., in 2017, and Eisai continued to manufacture the drug for U.S. consumption until the FDA-recommended recall in February 2020.

The drug activates a serotonin receptor known as a 5-HT2C receptor in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, which reduces appetite.

The manufacturers applied for a new drug application regarding Belviq to FDA in the United States on December 22, 2009. The proposal was rejected by the FDA panel on October 23, 2010, considering the cancer-promoting properties that Belviq contains. Later, the FDA approved Belviq on June 27, 2012. Later in 2016, the FDA also approved an extended-release version of Belviq named Belviq XR.

Belviq lawsuits were filed shortly after the U.S. FDA has ordered the weight loss drug distributor, Eisai Inc. to remove it off the shelf. A five years study on Belviq proves that this drug is associated with cancer risk. This weight-loss drug was approved by FDA in 2012 to treat obesity. Healthcare providers and doctors also used to prescribe this drug for weight loss to patients suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. Lawsuits have been filed against Arena Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Belviq having its plant in Switzerland, and Eisai Inc., the distributor of this weight loss drug in the U.S.

In early 2020, FDA had ordered Eisai Inc. to withdraw their drug from the market as it poses a potential cancer risk. However, as per the study conducted by the agency, Belviq is not linked with any cardiovascular risks. The FDA announcement read that the risk associated with this weight-loss drug exceeds the benefit it provides, hence it has to be withdrawn from the market. The data provided by Eisai Inc. in their long-term study over Belviq showed that 7.7 percent of people taking this weight-loss drug developed cancer compared to 7.1 percent taking placebo.

Due to the increasing number of Belviq lawsuits, the plaintiffs' lawyers have requested U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate cases from the entire nation into a single multidistrict litigation MDL in the Eastern District of Louisiana. MDL's are established to make the handling of lawsuits more efficient. Lawyers have stated in court documents that thousands of patients have developed cancer by using or ingesting the defendant's Belviq.

Patients who after intaking Belviq for at least six months have been diagnosed with lung, pancreatic or colorectal cancer can file a lawsuit. Even if the patient has suffered an injury due to this weight loss drug within seven years of this drug usage can file a lawsuit. Also, cancer should not spread from other organs, the patient filing case should prove that the disease has been originated in the lung, pancreas, or colon. People who lost their loved ones due to Belviq should file a case within a year and a half of death.

Lorcaserin hydrochloride, the scientific name of Belviq is a white or off-white colored powder that has a solubility level of 400 mg/ml. Each Belviq tablet comes along with 10.4 mg of lorcaserin hydrochloride hemihydrate that is equal to 10.0 mg of anhydrous lorcaserin hydrochloride. The tablet consists of inactive ingredients like silicified microcrystalline cellulose; croscarmellose sodium NF, colloidal silicon dioxide NF, hydroxypropyl cellulose NF, etc.

Belviq is a 10 mg blue film-coated tablet that is round biconvex in shape. It has "A" embossed on one side and the digit "10" on the other side.

Belviq can also make a patient addicted to it and could lead to psychiatric dependency. Large doses of this medication may lead to severe consequences like hallucinations. It is best to avoid the overuse of this weight loss drug to stay healthy and prevent chronic diseases. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in year 2013 has classified Belviq as a Schedule IV drug.

Belviq should be avoided by pregnant women as it can harm the unborn baby. Weight loss during pregnancy is not recommended as it can damage the fetus, even if you are overweight. It's unknown whether this weight loss drug passes into breast milk or if it could cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.

Dangerous Side Effects:

  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Mental or mood changes
  • Difficulty with memory or concentration
  • Unusual agitation
  • Shaking or twitching muscles
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Unexplained fever
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breast swelling and unusual breast milk discharge
  • Erections lasting 4 hours or more

Serious Alleged Injuries may include:

  • Lung cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer

FDA Safety Warnings:

June 2012: Consumer watchdog group Public Citizen issued a statement warning that the drugmaker was ignoring important safety measures and predicted that Belviq would be recalled within a few years.

June 27, 2012: FDA approved Belviq to treat some overweight or obese adults. The drug was approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obese), or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) and who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia).

February 13, 2020: The FDA issued a safety communication requesting Eisai Inc. to voluntarily recall Belviq. The recall was based on a clinical study that showed an increase in the occurrence of certain cancers among Belviq users.

Legal Updates:

Defendants:

Eisai Co., Ltd.

Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Defendant Law Firm:

Eisai Co., Ltd. Is represented Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP

Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Is represented by Cooley LLP

Allegations:

Allegations include the drug maker Eisai Co. withheld important safety information about the cancer risks from Belviq and provided false and misleading information about the safety of the drug for years.

Lawsuit Status:

Belviq lawsuits are in its early stages. Claims are expected to seek reimbursements for the premium price paid by users of the recalled diet drug, as well as funding for medical monitoring that users may require to detect cancer that may surface months or even years after last exposure.

MDL Status: Not yet formed

Important Verdicts & Settlements: Though lawyers are taking cases, there have been no verdicts or major settlements yet.

NEWS

Sep 16, 2020: Belviq Manufacturers Try To Dismiss A Class Action Suit

Last Wednesday, Eisai Inc., Arena Pharmaceuticals, and CVS Pharmacy filed a joint memorandum of law requesting Judge Philip M. Halpern in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of former users of Belviq over the allegation that the weight loss drug increases the risk of cancer.

Lorcaserin, marketed under the brand name Belviq, is a prescription weight loss drug developed to treat obesity. The diet drug was developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals, and the rights were sold to the Japanese drugmaker, Eisai Inc., in 2017.

In February, Eisai Inc. voluntarily announced a Belviq recall after receiving safety communication from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The recall was based on a clinical study that showed an increase in the occurrence of certain cancers among Belviq users.

The class action complaint was filed in March by a plaintiff on behalf of the nationwide consumers, alleging that the manufacturers and distributors knew or should have known about cancer risks before the drug was marketed. The plaintiff is trying to seek damages for all users of the prescription weight-loss pill in New York. 

The defendants, through the memorandum, asserted that the plaintiff did not make the case as per New York laws, and it fails to state a cause of action or any misleading advertising in the lawsuit. They have also filed supplemental memorandums claiming the suit serves no plausible claim for relief under New York laws.

Belviq lawsuits are in their early stages, but the number might grow, considering its past sales. Claims have been filed seeking reimbursements for the premium price paid by users of the recalled diet drug, as well as funding for medical monitoring that users would require to detect cancer that may surface months or even years after last exposure.

Apr 16, 2021: JPML Asked To Centralize Belviq Cancer Lawsuits

On Monday, a petition was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), requesting consolidation of Belviq cancer claims filed by the former users of the weight loss drug.

According to the April 12 petition, the plaintiff stated that currently at least 13 Belviq cancer lawsuits are pending in 12 different U.S. District Courts nationwide. The petition also noted that the number of cases filed across the country is likely to grow in the coming months.

Lorcaserin, marketed under the brand name Belviq, is a prescription weight loss drug developed to treat obesity. The diet drug was developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals, and the rights were sold to the Japanese drugmaker, Eisai Inc., in 2017.

In February, Eisai Inc. voluntarily announced a Belviq recall after receiving safety communication from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The recall was based on a clinical study that showed an increase in the occurrence of certain cancers among Belviq users.

The former users of the drug are filing complaints to seek reimbursements for the premium price paid for the recalled diet drug, as well as funding for medical monitoring that they would require to detect cancer that might surface months or even years after last exposure.

A group of plaintiffs joined together and filed the motion to transfer for the centralization of all the nationwide pending cases in the Eastern District of Louisiana for discovery and pretrial proceedings.

The plaintiffs have noted that the consolidation of all the lawsuits would help avoid duplicative discovery, prevent contradictory rulings from different judges, and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses, and the courts.

A hearing will be scheduled this summer to hear oral arguments on the motion, including any response filed by the drug-maker to determine whether centralization is feasible at this early stage of the litigation and to find the most appropriate forum for the pretrial proceedings.

Evidence:

  • Duration of Usage
  • Indication of usage in Medical Records
  • Evidence of injury in follow up medical records

Medical Record Review and claim validation of Belviq case should take approximately 3 hours in most instances; however, this approximation may vary in cases based on the volume of records.

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