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According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit side effects of Belviq caused a Missouri woman to develop breast cancer after using the now recalled diet drug for more than two years.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Amy Davis filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on September 23, indicating that Eisai, Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. developed and sold an unreasonably dangerous weight loss medication, which actually increases the risk of cancer.
Davis indicates she was prescribed Belviq for weight loss and diet control in August 2017, and continued to use the drug until November 2019, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Plaintiff’s use of Belviq caused or significantly contributed to her development of breast cancer, which has permanently changed her life,” the lawsuit states. “By reason of the foregoing, Plaintiff has had to undergo significant treatment and now requires constant and continuous medical monitoring and treatment due to the defective nature of Belviq.”
Belviq and Belviq XR (lorcaserin) were introduced as new prescription weight-loss medications in 2012, following a long history of diet drug recalls and problems linked to earlier products.
Earlier this year, the FDA issued warnings about an increased incidence of cancer among users of the medication, which resulted in a Belviq recall.
Davis now joins a growing number of other consumers nationwide who are pursuing Belviq lawsuits after developing breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and other injuries linked to the medication.
Belviq Cancer Risk
After an FDA advisory panel decided to approve the medication in April 2012, the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen predicted that there would be problems with Belviq, predicting that the diet drug would eventually be removed from the market like a number of other previously-approved weight-loss treatments.
In July 2019, an expert analysis of the CAMEILLIA-TIMI 61 Trial was published by the American College of Cardiology. The study looked at the effectiveness and side effects of Belviq, including the largest concern at the time: cardiovascular risks.
While not publicly announced until months later, the data contained concerning indications about a potential link between Belviq and pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer. However, the FDA did not issue Belviq cancer warnings until January 2020, and several weeks later it was determined that the weight loss drug needed to be removed from the market.
Even before then, at the time the medication was approved, the FDA required the drug makers to conduct a five year follow up study involving about 12,000 participants to evaluate the potential heart risks associated with the medication. However, researchers identified at least 462 individuals treated with Belviq who were diagnosed with 520 different primary cancers over a median follow up time of three years and three months.
About a dozen cases have already been filed nationwide, and it is expected that the size of the litigation will continue to grow in the coming months and year as former users diagnosed with cancer discover that the injury may have been caused by exposure to Belviq.