Dangerous Dieting Drug Belviq is Withdrawn Over Cancer Risk
People who are trying to lose weight often seek out dieting pills. Sadly, many of these medications do not work. More seriously, some pose serious health risks to people who take them. As such, the dangerous dieting drug Belviq was recently withdrawn from the market after a clinical trial found that taking Belviq, or lorcaserin in its generic form, is associated with an increased risk of cancer.
The agency first announced a potential link between Belviq and cancer on January 15 of this year. WebMd reported the drug’s maker Eisai Inc. submitted a request to voluntarily withdraw the drug from the market. Dr. Janet Woodcock, who directs the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, moved to alert the public to the possible serious side-effects of the drug.
Although the FDA has not made a positive correlation between the drug and elevated cancer risks, Woodcock said she wanted to make the public aware of the potential risk. Woodcock said users of Belviq and Belviq XR should stop taking the drug and talk to their health care professionals about alternative weight loss treatments.
Belviq has been used since 2012 to supplement a regime of diet and exercise in people who are obese or overweight. The drug works by increasing a feeling of fullness so users eat less. However, concerns about a potential cancer link became apparent after a placebo-linked trial. Researchers tracked 12,000 people who used the drug over five years.
WebMD reported the trial concluded in June 2018. The data revealed that while 7.1% of people taking a “dummy” placebo developed cancer, that number rose to 7.7% among users of Belviq. The FDA reported cancers including pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancers.
Unfortunately, many diet pills have been linked to illnesses and deaths in recent years. The diet pill 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) was linked to a series of deaths. In the 1990s, a combo drug called fenfluramine-phentermine (more popularly known as fen-phen) was marketed as a miracle cure for obesity. It became a media sensation, attracting 18 million prescriptions in 1996, the drug’s most popular year, Cosmopolitan reported. The popularity of this medication ended abruptly when the drug was shown to cause heart valve problems in as many as a third of its users, as well as a potentially-fatal lung condition called primary pulmonary hypertension.
Over a decade later in 2012, Forbes noted many dangerous diet pills remained on the market. The publication reported on the dangers of taking a Japanese weight loss supplement called Xiushentang. The FDA warned that the pills contained Phenolphthalein, an ingredient it lists as a potential carcinogen and sibutramine, a drug that was pulled from the market in 2010 because it raises the risk of heart attack and stroke in people who take it.
The FDA rejected approval of the weight-loss drug Qnexa over concerns about potential heart problems and birth defects in babies born to women who take the drug. However, the FDA is again considering allowing the drug on the market on a limited approval that would exclude women in their childbearing years.
Talk to a Virginia Attorney Dangerous Dieting Drugs
Many people mistakenly believe a drug is safe because it is on the market. Unfortunately, many drugs that cause cancer and other serious health conditions slip through the cracks. The big drug manufacturers often fail to test their products properly and put profits over patient safety. Our Virginia dangerous drugs attorneys have helped people who suffered terrible health effects from dangerous drugs. Please call us for a free consultation.