Published on August 6, 2020
There are a number of lawsuits against drug manufacturer Eisai Inc. that was initiated after the United States Food and Drug Administration asked that their weight loss drug Belviq was removed from shelves, due to the fact that there was significant evidence that there was an increased risk of cancer to those who took the drug.
If you have taken the weight loss drug Belviq, otherwise known by the generic name lorcaserin, and have since developed cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. There is a class-action lawsuit filed by a woman in New York, but you may have better results pursuing individual litigation against the drug manufacturer in order to get the money that you rightfully deserve, and not just a portion of the award if the class-action case results in an award.
Read more below to get a better idea of what Belviq is, how it is used, and what the possible side effects are that may entitle you or a loved one to compensation. Contact Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers, LLP as soon as possible so that you can speak directly with an attorney during a free initial consultation about your legal options, and how we can help you through this difficult and complex legal process. The sooner we begin our work together, the sooner we can seek out legal justice for you or your loved one who has suffered the consequences of this dangerous drug.
What Is Belviq?
Belviq is a weight loss drug that is also known as lorcaserin and was taken by certain overweight or medically-obese individuals who needed to lose weight due to their doctor’s concerns. Belviq is part of a class of drugs called serotonin receptor agonists and works by affecting a part of the brain that is directly related to hunger and appetite. When an overweight individual takes this class of drugs, they are able to suppress hunger for longer so that they can lose weight to avoid obesity-related medical outcomes like high blood pressure or certain types of diabetes.
This drug was taken orally, usually twice daily in order to control appetite so that the patient could lose weight. This drug was found to be habit-forming over long periods of time, so it was not recommended for use for more than 12-weeks, and under close doctor supervision.
On February 13, 2020, the FDA requested that Eisei, Inc. take Belviq off of shelves and out of production due to clinical trials that showed a clear increased occurrence of certain cancers. Since this was a request and not a demand, Eisei, Inc. was able to decide the type of action that they would take; unsurprisingly, they chose to take the drug off shelves.
What Type of Cancer Does Belviq Cause?
The central claims of the class-action lawsuit, and myriad individual lawsuits across the country against Eisei, Inc., is that Belviq is shown to cause a variety of cancers including lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
Belviq and Lung Cancer
In a 5-year study of roughly 12,000 people, some who were taking Belviq, and others who were taking a placebo. It was found that there was an increased risk of lung cancer in the group that was taking Belviq when compared to the placebo group.
Belviq and Colorectal Cancer
In addition to the findings that there was a correlation between an increase in lung cancer rates and taking Belviq, the findings also concluded that there was an increased risk of colorectal cancer and taking Belviq.
Belviq and Pancreatic Cancer
Finally, there was also a link found between Belviq and pancreatic cancer, which the FDA found to have a 7.7% occurrence in the group taking Belviq, compared to the 7.1% rate of cancer in the placebo group.
Per the FDA’s Data Summary: “There was a numerical imbalance in the number of patients with malignancies, with one additional cancer observed per 470 patients treated for one year. During the course of the trial, 462 (7.7 percent) patients treated with lorcaserin were diagnosed with 520 primary cancers compared to the placebo group, in which 423 (7.1 percent) patients were diagnosed with 470 cancers. Imbalances in specific cancers including pancreatic, colorectal, and lung contributed to the observed overall imbalance in cancer cases.”
This is not a comprehensive list of the possible adverse effects of Belviq. There is ongoing research into the connection between Belviq and other forms of cancer, including breast cancer.
Belviq and Birth Defects
Belviq is designated as a pregnancy category X by the FDA, meaning that “Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in the use of the drug in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.”
However, there is no direct correlation between Belviq and birth defects; however, it is not advised for people to attempt to lose weight while pregnant, at least not with the assistance of any drug. According to the medical website MDEdge, it is likely that Belviq was assigned the “X” category because “intentional weight loss in pregnancy is not recommended. Preclinical data for lorcaserin did not suggest teratogenicity, but maternal exposure in rats late in gestation resulted in lower pup bodyweight that persisted into adulthood.”
Why You Need An Attorney, Contact Balkin & Mausner
You have the option to join the class-action lawsuit, but you will have a better chance of a larger settlement if you pursue individual litigation based on your own unique experience with Belviq and negative, life-changing side-effects such as pancreatic, lung, or colorectal cancer. Many people believe that they can not afford individual legal representation, but the reality is that when you are working with an attorney who is working on contingency fees, like the ones you’ll find at Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers, LLP, you do not need to pay a dollar out of pocket, and you do not pay at all if we do not win.
When you have Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers, LLP handling your case and fighting for your individual rights, you have the benefit of a legal professional who is specifically focused on your needs and rights, instead of a class-action suit where you will need to take a portion of the award that goes to the class, with little or no consideration to the unique impacts that you have suffered.