FDA Recalls Belviq, Belviq XR
August 18, 2021
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) submitted a formal request to withdrawal Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin), from the market amidst rising safety concerns. The manufacturer of the weight loss medication, Eisai Inc., has agreed to comply with the recall in an effort to protect consumers from the drug’s associated risks.
The FDA made its decision to recall Belviq, Belviq XR after a clinical safety trial revealed an increased occurrence of cancer. The administration issued a statement saying that the potential cancer risks associated with taking lorcaserin outweigh the benefits. Belviq, Belviq XR belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin receptor agonists. These drugs work by affecting a certain part of a person’s brain that can assist with appetite control and weight maintenance.
In light of the recall, the FDA recommends that patients stop taking Belviq, Belviq XR and talk to their doctors about alternative weight loss programs and medications. Not only does the FDA suggest that providers stop prescribing the medication as a drug to new patients right away, but also that they reach out to any current patients who are taking lorcaserin and counsel them on safely discontinuing use.
The FDA approved lorcaserin 2012. That same year, the administration required Eisai Inc. to conduct a thorough clinical safety trial in order to assess the medication for cardiovascular risks; instead, the study showed an increase in several different types of cancers in patients. Altogether, the five-year long trial included 12,000 patients who were overweight or with obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The patients who took Belviq, Belviq XR developed a range of cancers, including colorectal, lung, and pancreatic, at a higher incident rate than patients who were taking a placebo. The FDA is not recommending any special cancer screening or testing for patients who took lorcaserin at the time being – but it is still important to follow standard screening recommendations. Patients who were taking the drug should also follow up with their doctors to discuss next steps.
Lorcaserin is by no means the first weight loss drug that the FDA has recalled or issued consumer warnings on. In the late 90s, the administration banned popular combination weight loss drugs fen-phen, or fenfluramine/phentermine. While lots of users hailed fen-phen as a “miracle” cure for losing weight, it caused damage to heart valves. Fen-phen was linked to other severe serious side effects, like endocardial fibrosis, valvular heart disease, primary pulmonary hypertension, and death. Thousands of people filed lawsuits against the American Home Products Corporation, maker of fen-phen. Over the last two decades, the company has paid billions of dollars to victims – and injured fen-phen consumers continue to file lawsuits to this day.
While weight loss medications can provide benefits to patients, manufacturers must produce them safely and healthcare professionals must prescribe them to patients in a responsible and ethical manner. Dangerous weight loss pills, like the Brazilian Diet Pill, Clenbuterol, Dinitrophenol, Ephedrine, and Belviq, Belviq XR can cause an array of catastrophic side effects, including:
- Heart attack and stroke
- Respiratory difficulty
- Chest pain
- Dangerously high and/or low blood pressure
- Mood swings and personality changes
- Birth defects if taken by pregnant mothers
- Sudden death
The FDA says it is best to dispose of any unused lorcaserin. Patients can use a drug take back location, or authorized collection site, to dispose of the medication. If you are unable to use an authorized collection site, the FDA recommends disposing of lorcaserin in your household trash. The administration says patients can do this by:
- Mixing the left over pills with an unappealing substance, like used coffee grounds, cat litter, or dirt. Do not crush them
- Place the mixture in a sealed plastic bag or other secure, closed container
- Throw away the container in your household trash
- Before throwing away or recycling empty medicine bottles, be sure to remove all personal information
If a doctor prescribed you lorcaserin, or Belviq, Belviq XR and you experienced dangerous side effects or developed cancer, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
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