FDA Warning: Increased Cancer Risk with Lorcaserin

On 01-14-2020, FDA released this alert of possible association of cancer with Lorcaserin:

FDA mentioned that at this time, the cause of the cancer is uncertain, and we cannot conclude that lorcaserin contributes to the cancer risk:

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in ~12,000 participants found that more patients taking lorcaserin were diagnosed with cancer compared to patients taking placebo.

Lorcaserin Mechanism of Action:

Stimulates 5HT2C receptor —> Stimulates POMC neuron —-> Releases alpha MSH —> acts on MC4R —> resulting in suppression of appetite.

  • POMC = Pro-OpioMelanoCortin Neuron
  • MSH =  Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone
  • MC4R = Melanocortin-4 Receptor

FDA-approved medication for weight loss in obesity:

  1. Phentermine (Adipex-P®)
  2. Orlistat (Xenical®)
  3. Lorcaserin (Belviq®)
  4. Liraglutide (Saxenda®)
  5. Phentermine/Topiramate (Qsymia®)
  6. Naltrexone/Bupropion (Contrave®)


  1. FDA Drug Safety Communication. (FDA)
  2. Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Feb;170:116-147. (pdf)

Dr. Harvinder Singh

Admin, Psychiatry Education Forum

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