Patients across the U.S. have been reporting hidden and dangerous side effects in the 2012-era Japanese appetite suppressant Belviq (Lorcaserin). As obesity remains a public health crisis in the U.S., many Americans struggle daily in an effort to lose weight. From 2012 onward, Belviq was introduced in the United States promising meaningful weight loss, and many people began taking the drug. However, had patients known the true and hidden danger of Belviq, they would likely have reconsidered their decisions and avoided Belviq.

How Does Belviq (Lorcaserin) Work?

Belviq is a selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist. 5-HT2C is a brain chemical commonly associated with appetite and satiety (feeling of fullness). Belviq manipulates this chemical to make patients feel full when they are not. The problem is that the 5-HT2 family of brain receptors is not just associated with appetite; these receptors are located in key parts of the brain, such as the cerebellum, amygdala, and hippocampus, areas which are responsible for regulating endocrine levels and overall mood. Because of this, Belviq not only has the ability to change a person’s eating habits, but it can alter the way a person feels.

The side-effect potential is even higher because Lorcaserin is an experimental drug. Even Arena Pharmaceuticals, the drug’s U.S. manufacturer, is not exactly sure how the medicine works.

Belviq’s Approval History

In 2009, Belviq’s Japanese producer asked the FDA to approve Lorcaserin for sale in the United States. An advisory panel rejected the application, concluding that the drug’s dangerous side effects outweighed its rather low weight loss potential.

Belviq obtained a new sponsor, Arena Pharmaceuticals, who commissioned some additional tests and resubmitted the application in 2012.

This time, the FDA approved the request. However, certain restrictions and monitoring requirements were imposed. Some of these restrictions included limiting Belviq to be prescribed only to obese individuals or overweight individuals with at least one related condition, such as diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure).

Possible Side-Effects

Upon approval, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified Belviq as a Schedule IV drug, citing its possible hallucinogenic side-effects.

They were also aware of the drug’s potential risk to cause cancer, including pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and rectal cancer.

A 2014 study found an increased cancer risk, but the increase was not disproportionately significant. A larger, double-blind study released in January 2020, however,  yielded much more alarming results which led the FDA to ask Arena Pharmaceuticals to voluntarily recall the drug. Arena agreed.

Lorcaserin has also been linked to cardiovascular issues, such as heart attacks and strokes. These risks are especially high for people with certain pre-existing conditions or genetic predispositions.

Your Claim For Damages

Damages in dangerous drug cases also include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills. That is especially important in cancer cases. Cancer survival rates have increased significantly since the 1990s, but cancer treatment costs have increased even more. Victims need significant financial resources to combat this disease.

Belviq is associated with causing certain types of cancer and a number of other dangerous or fatal side-effects.

Contact National Drug Injury Attorneys

If you believe you have suffered injuries relating to the appetite suppressant drug Belviq (Lorcaserin), please contact Lieff Cabraser partner Wendy R. Fleishman today at 1 800 541-7358 or by using the form on this page to talk about your case and potential recovery. There is no charge for our review of your case, and the information you provide will be held in the strictest confidence.

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