WASHINGTON, D.C. — Prescription drug manufacturer Eisai will pull its weight-loss drug Belviq from circulation after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found a link between taking Belviq and certain cancers. According to CNN, clinical trials showed that a large number of people who took Belviq to help with weight loss developed potentially incurable cancers such as colorectal, lung, and pancreatic cancer. As a direct result of those findings, the FDA request Eisai to remove Belviq and its extended-release version, Belviq XR, from the pharmaceutical market. Moreover, the FDA advised patients to stop taking Belviq and Belviq XR immediately to reduce the risk of developing the deadly disease.
The FDA studied the results of a clinical trial, which focused on the safety of lorcaserin. Lorcaserin is the generic version of the brand name of Belviq. Lorcaserin is a weight loss drug that suppresses appetites in obese people and helps them lose weight. Eisai designed Belviq to work in conjunction with adopting a more restrictive diet and exercise program. However, the results of the safety trials suggest to the experts at the FDA that the risk of developing cancer from taking Belviq substantially outweighs the weight loss benefit patients experience from taking the drug. Coincidentally, the research trials focused on cardiovascular effects and identified cancer risks instead.
Eisai announced that it would comply with the FDA’s demands and voluntarily recall Belviq and Belviq XR from the market. The company recognized that the drug showed a direct connection with cancer development but disagreed on the FDA’s data interpretation. Eisai said in a statement that it believes that lorcaserin could be a drug that helps obese people lose weight.
The FDA did not inform patients to undergo any particular cancer screenings. Furthermore, the FDA and Eisai suggested to patients that they should speak with their doctors about finding a medical alternative to taking lorcaserin.
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