What is Belviq?
Belviq (lorcaserin) is a diet pill that was developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai Co., Ltd. Patients who take one 10-mg tablet twice a day can expect to lose up to 5% of their body weight within 12 weeks. If the patient does not hit those targets, experts recommend talking to a physician about other treatments. When Belviq was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2012, it was the first weight-loss medication approved in the United States since Fen Phen and Redux were taken off the market in the 1990s.
How Does Belviq Work?
Belviq works in the brain to reduce appetite, which helps patients who are dieting and struggling with hunger. It is the first in its class and a new chemical entity. Belviq works by targeting serotonin 2C receptors in the brain, which is a similar mechanism as fenfluramine, an ingredient in Fen Phen.
What is the problem?
Because Belviq shares similarities to Fen Phen, experts are concerned about many of the same side effects — especially heart valve damage, which led to a recall for Fen Phen in the 1990s. Of course, manufacturers of Belviq claim it has a lower risk of causing heart problems because it is more selective than Fen Phen.
In clinical trials of Belviq, approximately 2.4% of Belviq patients developed heart valve damage, compared to 2% of patients who were given a placebo. Trials also indicated that Belviq may decrease heart-rate by 1-2 beats per minute. According to the Prescribing Information:
“Some people taking medicines like Belviq have had problems with the valves in their heart. … Before taking Belviq, tell your doctor if you have or have had any heart problems.”
FDA Denies Approval on Belviq Cancer Concerns
In October 2010, an FDA panel rejected approving Belviq on concerns that it might increase the risk of cancer. Studies found that breast cancer and brain cancer occurred more often in rodents who were given dose of Belviq that were 7-times what a human would receive. After drug-makers assured the FDA that the cancers were rodent-specific, the FDA voted 18-4 to approve Belviq.
Belviq Side Effects
The most common side effects of Belviq include dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and constipation. Patients who have type-2 diabetes are also at increased risk of blood-sugar problems (hypoglycemia), back pain, and cough. More serious side effects of Belviq may include:
- Heart problems
- Heart valve damage
- Pulmonary hypertension (life-threatening high blood pressure in lungs)
- Slower heart rate or abnormal heart rhythm
- Cancer (breast and brain tumors were found in rodent studies)
- Psychiatric disorders (euphoria and dissociation)
- Cognitive impairment
- Changes in attention, memory, or confusion
- Serotonin Syndrome
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
- Prolactin elevation, which may cause gynecomastia or galactorrhea
- Gynecomastia (enlarged male breast tissue)
- Galactorrhea (spontaneous flow of milk from breasts)
- Decreased white blood-cell count
- Memory lapses
- And more
Do I have a Belviq Class Action Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Belviq lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Belviq Class Action Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was injured by Belviq, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Belviq lawsuit, and we can help.