Belviq and Belviq XR cancer lawsuits Many people in South Carolina have been prescribed drugs for weight loss. In the past few years, two popular prescription drugs for weight loss included Belviq® and Belviq XR®. Unfortunately, post-clinical studies that were required by the federal Food and Drug Administration revealed that people taking these drugs have a significantly increased risk of cancer. If you have developed a cancerous condition after taking Belviq®, you may have legal rights to recover compensation from the drugmaker.
What is Belviq®?
Belviq® and the extended-release form, Belviq XR®, are drugs that were developed to help people lose weight. These drugs contain lorcaserin HCL, which works by affecting a serotonin receptor in the hypothalamus of the brain to suppress the appetite. The FDA approved these drugs in 2012.
Belviq® and Belviq XR® work by affecting the serotonin 2C receptor in the hypothalamus to give people a feeling of fullness. These drugs were approved for adults who had BMIs of 30 kg/m² or greater and those with BMIs of 27 kg/m² or greater who also had other conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. People with BMIs of 30 or higher are considered to be obese, and those with BMIs from 25 to 29 are considered to be overweight.
Because of concerns about potential cardiovascular risks, the FDA conditioned its approval of Belviq® and Belviq XR® on the drug manufacturer conducting a post-clinical study. Belviq® and Belviq XR® work in a similar way as the drugs contained in Phenfen, which caused cardiovascular problems and was discontinued. The study included 12,000 men and women in the U.S. and other countries and was randomized and double-blind. After analyzing the results of the five-year post-clinical study, the FDA identified an increased risk of developing cancerous conditions in patients who were prescribed Belviq® or Belviq XR® as compared to placebos.
FDA requests withdrawal
In February 2019, the FDA requested that Eisai, the drug manufacturer of Belviq® and Belviq XR®, voluntarily recall the drugs from the market. The agency also advised people who have been prescribed these drugs to stop taking them. If you have been prescribed either of these drugs for the treatment of obesity, you should ask your doctor about weight-management alternatives to help with weight loss.
The FDA found that people who had been prescribed these drugs during the study had significantly higher rates of malignancies than study participants who took placebos. The agency determined that the risks of taking Belviq® and Belviq XR® far outweighed the weight-loss benefits. Eisai responded to the FDA’s request by issuing a voluntary withdrawal of Belviq® and Belviq XR® and discontinuing sales of both drugs in the U.S.
What does the increased risk involve?
The FDA reports that people developed cancers of the following areas of the body:
- Other cancers
If you have taken Belviq® or Belviq XR® and have been diagnosed with cancer, you might want to talk to a attorney about filing a lawsuit against Eisai to recover compensation for your losses.
Other side effects of Belviq® and Belviq XR®
Belviq® and Belviq XR® also have some other side effects. Some of the side effects that can be caused by these drugs include the following:
- Serotonin syndrome
- Mental health problems
- Cognitive impairment
- Dry mouth
Serotonin syndrome is a condition that occurs when certain areas of the brain have excessive levels of serotonin. This condition can cause heart rate and rhythm changes, high fever, movement disorders, and changes in blood pressure. In some cases, this syndrome can be life-threatening. Patients can also suffer from memory loss and confusion and are cautioned against driving while they take Belviq® or Belviq XR® until they understand how they are affected by these drugs.
Potential claims in a Belviq® or Belviq XR® lawsuit
In a 2011 pharmacological study of lorcaserin, the researcher found that the drug caused cancerous tumors in rats and recommended against the drug’s approval. Despite this, the FDA subsequently approved Belviq® and Belviq XR® for weight management purposes. Eisai did not include information about the potential risk of developing cancerous tumors in its drug label. Even after the conclusion of its study, the company updated its label but failed to include information about the risk of developing various cancers.
Claims against drug manufacturers such as Eisai fall under product liability law. Product liability claims can include design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. In the case of Belviq® and Belviq XR®, injured victims might have claims against Eisai based on the dangerous side effects of the drug that the company knew about but failed to disclose. They could also have marketing defect claims based on the inadequate warning label and the company’s failure to warn doctors, pharmacists, and patients about the risk of developing malignancies. An attorney at the Lovely Law Firm can review your potential case and determine the claims that might be available to you.
What damages might be available?
The amount of compensation that might be recoverable will depend on several factors, including the extent of your injuries and economic losses and others. Your attorney can evaluate your claim to determine its worth and provide you with a range of values within which you might expect a settlement offer to fall. The damages in a legal claim will include compensatory damages. The compensatory damages that might be available can include special damages and general damages. Special damages are monetary awards to compensate you for your economic losses, and general damages are monetary awards to compensate you for your noneconomic losses. Some of the types of compensatory damages that might be available to you in a claim against Eisai include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses related to your injuries
- Past wage losses
- Future anticipated lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional trauma
- In a wrongful death claim, funeral and burial costs
- In a wrongful death claim, medical expenses for treating your loved one until he or she died
- In a wrongful death claim, loss of consortium and guidance
- In a wrongful death claim, loss of the income that your loved one would have contributed if he or she had lived
- In a wrongful death claim, your loved one’s lost inheritance rights
Punitive damages, which are meant to punish defendants for particularly outrageous conduct, might also be available. In the case of Eisai, the company’s failure to warn about the risk of malignancies might be grounds for requesting punitive damages.
Get help from Bad Drug attorneys at The Lovely Law Firm
If you were diagnosed with cancer or have lost a loved one to the condition after taking Belviq® or Belviq XR®, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the drugmaker. The attorneys at The Lovely Law Firm can review your potential claim and explain your rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina law firm by calling us at (843) 839-4111 or by submitting your information on our online contact form.
Do I have a Belviq case?
We are currently investigating the following criteria:
- Must Have taken Belviq or BelviqXR for at least 3 months
- Must have been diagnosed with colorectal, lung, or pancreatic cancer at least 6 months after first use
- Must be under the age of 75 at the time of diagnosis
If you meet this criteria, call us at 843-839-4111