People who take Abbott’s weight loss pill Meridia® have a high risk of heart attack and stroke
What’s the problem?
According to a company-sponsored study, individuals who take Abbott’s weight loss pill Meridia have a higher risk of nonfatal heart attack and stroke. When the FDA learned of the study results last January, Meridia use was restricted to patients without known heart problems.
In a recent editorial, the New England Journal of Medicine called Meridia “another flawed diet pill.” They note that in return for offering a weight loss of under 9 pounds — less than 5% of the body weight of the overweight participants in the study — the drug had a one-in-70 chance of causing a heart attack or stroke.
People with underlying heart problems had an even higher one-in-52 risk of heart attack or stroke. And the New England Journal of Medicine editors note that many people who are overweight or obese have undiagnosed heart problems.
Since “the modest weight loss with [Meridia] did not translate into clinical benefit,” the editors say, “it is difficult to discern a credible rationale for keeping this medication on the market.”
Before Taking Meridia
Do not use Meridia if you have taken an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. Serious, life threatening side effects can occur if you use Meridia before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body. You should not take Meridia if you are allergic to Meridia, or if you have:
- severe or uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure);
- an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia);
- a history of coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis);
- a history of heart disease (congestive heart failure, heart rhythm disorder);
- a history of heart attack or stroke; or
- if you are taking stimulant diet pills