Diet drug Meridia pulled off market

Abbott Laboratories on Friday pulled it's diet drug Meridia off the market in the US at the request of the Food and Drug Administration because the medicaiton increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“Meridia’s continued availability is not justified when you compare the very modest weight loss that people achieve on this drug to their risk of heart attack or stroke,” said John Jenkins, director of the the FDA’s office of new drugs in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Physicians are advised to stop prescribing Meridia to their patients and patients should stop taking this medication. Patients should talk to their health care provider about alternative weight loss and weight loss maintenance programs.”

Earlier Friday the Canadian health department announced that Abbott had agreed to pull Meridia from the market in that country due the risk of cardiovascular events such as strokes and heart attacks, according to the Associated Press. The AP added that “European regulators withdrew the drug in January."

Also Friday, the FDA advised people who use the “herbal” product Slimming Beauty Bitter Orange Slimming Capsules to immediately stop taking the pills because they contain sibutramine, the active ingredient in Meridia. Sibutramine is a stimulant.

The FDA’s Slimming Beauty warning stated:

“Consumers who are otherwise healthy and who take the amount of sibutramine found in Slimming Beauty capsules can experience anxiety, nausea, heart palpitations, a racing heart, insomnia, and elevated blood pressure. Sibutramine also may interact with other medications and can cause serious side effects. Sibutramine is a powerful stimulant that should not be used without a prescription due to the safety risks associated with it.”

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