The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning following the results of a recent safety trial that weight loss drug lorcaserin (Belviq) may increase the risk of cancer.
Pharmaceutical company Eisai has removed lorcaserin (Belviq, Belviq XR) from the market on a voluntary basis.
This decision came after a alert from the FDA that Belviq had not passed a recent safety trial, and that there was a chance that the medication would increase the risk of cancer for a individual.
Shortly after issuing the alert, the FDA went on to recommend the removal of the drug from the market, arguing that the “potential cancer risk outweighs the benefits” the medication could offer.
Lorcaserin is a drug designed to help weight loss in obesity- and overweight-related health-related treatments. The drug works by reducing the sense of hunger in a human.
Risk of pancreatic, lung, and colon cancer
In an updated statement, FDA officials acknowledged that when they originally “approved lorcaserin in 2012,[ they] needed the drug manufacturer to perform a clinical trial to assess the risk of cardiovascular problems.”
After this safety review, they found that the medication was not safe, and that it could potentially make people taking it more likely to develop other forms of cancer.
“A range of cancer types was reported, with several different types of cancers occurring more frequently in the lorcaserin group, including pancreatic, colorectal, and lung.”
The FDA is advising people who already have Belviq tablets to dispose of them in a safe manner. The best way to do that is to turn them in at an official drug take-back site, they claim.
If a person can not reach a take-back site, FDA officials recommend that they should be disposed of in the garbage, by:
- mixing the tablets with “an unappealing substance such as dirt,” but without crushing them
- sealing this mix into a secured plastic bag or box
- throwing the sealed mix into the trash
Users should also”[ r]eliminate or delete all personal information on an empty medicine bottles or packaging prescription label” before disposing of it.
As far as healthcare professionals are concerned, the FDA advises that they stop prescribing Belviq and warn anyone who may already use the medication immediately to notify them of the dangers it may pose.