We encourage collaboratively sharing in medical decisions with your doctor based on a rigorous review of the benefits, risks, alternatives, and unknowns of all diagnostic or treatment plans.
The recent FDA announcement that a strong clinical trial it had ordered as a condition of its approval of Belviq for weight loss revealed an increase in cancer risk highlights the reasons for our collaborative philosophy of medical care. The FDA had ordered the trial to measure to any possible cardiovascular toxicity because it had found such toxicity after it approved prior weight loss drugs. Instead, it found an unexpected cancer risk.
While the risks of obesity are high, and the benefits of weight loss for that condition are also high, and the alternatives to medications like Belviq are also risky, finding a potential cancer risk reveals why using a treatment with so many unknowns should be approached with great caution, even after a long period of experience with the treatment by many doctors. You should have a say in deciding how such risks fit into your own goals and values.
It also reveals why even drugs considered to be “safe” based on their long term use warrant careful consideration each time they are prescribed. How long would it have taken for the cancer risk signal to have been discovered for Lorcaserin had the FDA not ordered a rigorous trial for a toxicity completely unrelated to the one it discovered? Few approved drugs receive such an order for more rapid rigorous analysis.
Take charge of your medical care by collaborating with your doctor. We can help educate, coach, and advocate to help. Call us at 203-692-4422, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an introductory consultation.