Follow up study on popular weight loss drug reveals cancer risk

Feb. 5, 2020

A clinical trial of 12,000 participants taking Belviq showed that the popular weight loss drug could be linked to cancer.

Developed by Eisai Inc., Belviq was first rejected by the FDA after animal studies showed an increased risk of tumors. Health officials in Canada and the EU ultimately rejected the drug. By the time it was approved by the FDA in 2012, Belviq was the first new weight loss drug OK’d in the U.S. in 13 years.

Belviq works by targeting the part of the brain that regulates appetite to make users feel full.

For its follow-up study, Belviq conducted a five-year trial on 12,000 participants and found that those who took the drug were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than those who didn’t.

The FDA said it is still working to evaluate the results of the trial and said it will issue a conclusion once it has finished its review. For now, the agency is advising patients to consider the “possible increased risk of cancer” before taking the drug.