The popular weight loss drug, called Belviq, also called Belviq XR (lorcaserin), has been found to increase the risk of developing cancer, warns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The regulatory board is alerting the public that recent results from a clinical trial that aimed to assess the drug’s safety has shown a potentially heightened risk of cancer in those who are using the drug for weight loss management.
Health officials urged those who are taking the drug to talk to their doctors, even if the findings are still being evaluated. They encouraged an abundance of precaution in the intake of the said drug. For doctors, the FDA encourages them to consider if the benefits of taking the drug may exceed the potential risks before prescribing it to their patients, or if their current patients should continue in taking lorcaserin.
Lorcaserin is a prescription drug approved by the FDA in 2012, which aims to help patients lose weight, in combination with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise. Doctors recommend the drug to overweight and obese patients who have weight-related health conditions. The drug promotes weight loss by boosting feelings of satiety and fullness, so they consume less food.
It is available as Belviq, which is taken as a tablet twice a day, and Belviq XR, which is an extended-release once a day tablet. Image Credit: Sisacorn / Shutterstock Clinical trial results
When the FDA approved lorcaserin, they required the manufacturer of the drug, Eisai, Inc. to perform a clinical trial to determine the health risks linked to the drug, particularly heart-related problems. The trial showed that in about 12,000 participants in a study period of five years, the researchers found that more patients who were on lorcaserin developed and were diagnosed with cancer than those who were taking placebo.
Currently, the FDA is conducting further research and evaluation of the possible link between lorcaserin and cancer. Though the findings are still inconclusive, the regulatory body encourages doctors and patients to report side effects and potential complications in taking the drug.
“To help FDA track safety issues with medicines, we urge health care professionals and patients to report side effects involving lorcaserin or other medicines to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact FDA” box at the bottom of the page,” the FDA said in its announcement. Obesity still a global health problem Related Stories
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