Abbott Laboratories has agreed to take its obesity drug Meridia (sibutramine) off the market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday.
The company voluntarily withdrew the drug because clinical trial studies showed there was an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in people who used the drug. […]
Approved in 1997 for weight loss, the original data on the drug showed that people who took Meridia lost at least 5 percent more of their body weight than people who were on a placebo and relied on diet and exercise alone.
The FDA requested the company withdraw the drug, after reviewing data from a follow-up study known as the Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial (SCOUT ). It showed there was a 16 percent increase in the risk of serious heart events, including non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stroke, and death, in a group of patients given Meridia as opposed to others given a placebo.
Hopefully the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes will return to normal if the drug is discontinued.