Lorcaserin is the generic name for Belviq. This relatively expensive medication is prescribed by physicians to help patients lose weight and maintain it for individuals who are currently obese. Exercise and a low-calorie diet (if needed) are recommended in addition to the medication.
The drug is also prescribed for people with health issues related to their weight, such as high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure. It’s classified as a serotonin-receptor agonist medication, which affects appetite by targeting certain chemicals inside a person’s brain. There are two forms of Belviq: the traditional Belviq tablet or the extended-release tablet called Belviq XR.
In February, the FDA requested that Belviq be pulled from American markets after clinical trials tied the drug to increased cancer rates. Tokyo-based Eisai Inc. submitted numerous voluntary requests to remove Belviq from the market.
Officials with the FDA believe that the cancer risks associated with Belviq are significant enough for them to call for the drug’s removal. Since Belviq was approved, researchers conducted a 5-year study to analyze the medication's safety profile. The studies showed that around 7.7% of patients who took the drug were diagnosed with cancer, compared to the 7.1% who took placebos.
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