Belviq and Belviq XR are prescription weight-loss medications created by the Japanese drug-maker Eisai Co. They help people lose weight by reducing appetite.
Eisai failed to get FDA-approval for Belviq in 2010 due to concerns about studies showing higher rates of tumors in rat studies.
Two years later, the FDA approved Belviq, but required Eisai to conduct a major clinical trial to investigate the risk of cancer and cardiovascular side effects.
The study included 12,000 people over a period of five years. Unfortunately, the study determined that Belviq users were more likely to develop cancer.
During the study, approximately 7.7% of Belviq users developed cancer, compared to 7.1% of people who took an inactive placebo.
Belviq was specifically linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer, according to the FDA warning. Rodent studies have also linked Belviq to higher rates of tumors in the breast and brain.
The FDA said patients should stop taking Belviq immediately, safely dispose of leftover pills, and contact their doctor for alternatives.
The FDA is not recommending any special cancer screening for people who took Belviq. The agency also noted that the increased risk of cancer was only seen after long-term use of Belviq or Belviq XR.