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Belviq Recall Lawsuits Allege Diet Drug Caused Cancer

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A number of Belviq lawsuits are now being filed by former users of the recalled diet drug, indicating that prior use caused them to develop various different forms of cancer.

Belviq and Belviq XR (lorcaserin) were prescription weight-loss medications introduced in 2012, following a long history of diet drug recalls and problems linked to earlier products.

In February 2020, the FDA issued warnings that resulted in a Belviq recall, after clinical trials identified a potential increased risk for several types of cancer, including pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancer. However, concerns emerged that Belviq side effects may increase the risk of other types of tumors and injuries.

Since then, Esai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals have been the target of a number of product liability lawsuits, including two new complaints filed over the past week.

In one complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on August 27, Pamela Puskas indicates that she developed breast cancer following use of Belviq for weight management.

Another complaint (PDF) was filed by Mildred Smith the next day in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, indicating that developed rectal cancer from Belviq.

“When warning of safety and risks of Belviq, Defendants negligently and/or fraudulently represented to the medical and healthcare community, the Food and Drug Administration, to Plaintiff, and the public in general, that Belviq had been tested and was found to be safe and/or effective for its indicated use,” each of the lawsuit states. “Defendants concealed their knowledge of Belviq’s defects from Plaintiff, the FDA, the public in general, and/or the medical community specifically.”

Belviq Cancer Risk

After an FDA advisory panel decided to approve the medication in April 2012, the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen warned that Americans would face an unnecessary risk of problems from Belviq, predicting that it would eventually be removed from the market like a number of other previously-approved weight-loss drugs.

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.

These recently filed cases join a number similar cancer cases being investigated by Belviq recall lawyers, as well as class action claims being pursued for individuals who paid about $300 per month for the prescription and now face continuing health risks that require medical monitoring.

Since the strongest sales for Belviq have come over the past few years, it is widely expected that additional lawsuits will be filed in the coming months and years, as former users may be diagnosed with cases of thyroid cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and other injuries.

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