Meridia® (generic: sibutramine) has been linked to a number of serious side effects including stroke
NEJM Meridia Study
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Abbott Laboratories’ weight-loss pill Meridia increases the risk of stroke and heart attack in people with heart disease.
The results will be reviewed at a meeting of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next month, when officials will weigh whether the medication should remain on the market. European regulators pulled the drug from pharmacy shelves last year on the basis of a preliminary review of the study. Abbott has said Meridia will generate $100 million this year in worldwide sales.
The findings led public health advocates to ask why it has taken the FDA so long to act on the medication, approved 14 years ago even as evidence showed it can raise blood pressure and heart rate. Patients taking the drug lost an average of 4.3 kilograms (9.4 pounds) during the six-year study.
“Fundamentally, it’s pretty bad,” said Steven Nissen, chief of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, in a telephone interview. “Here is a drug that has no medical benefits whatsoever and high risks. The FDA ought to get this drug off the market.”