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read that the risk associated with this weight-loss drug exceeds the benefit it provides, hence it has to be withdrawn from the market.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