FDA Requests Recall of Weight Loss Drug Due to Cancer Risks

On Feb. 13, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that Eisai Inc., the manufacturer of weight loss medications Belviq and Belviq XR (lorcaserin), pull the products from the market. The recall is in response to data from a safety clinical trial indicating that patients who take the medications may be at an increased risk of cancer.

Lorcaserin was first approved by the FDA in 2012. After its manufacturer conducted a safety clinical trial, the FDA found that more patients taking the medication were diagnosed with cancer than patients taking placebo. The trial included 12,000 patients over five years. Patients taking lorcaserin developed a range of cancer types, including pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancer.

The FDA currently recommends that patients stop taking lorcaserin and for health care professionals to stop prescribing and dispensing the drug to patients. Patients should instead pursue alternative methods of weight loss to reduce their risks of developing cancer. In addition, patients who currently have a supply of lorcaserin pills in their homes should dispose of them properly, whether through a drug take-back location or other safe means.

At Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough, we know that dangerous drugs are always being added to the market and stocked on pharmacy shelves. Unfortunately, the knowledge that those drugs are dangerous may take months or even years to become well-known, as is the case with lorcaserin. If you or someone you love was harmed by a prescription medication, our drug injury lawyers want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.