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Published on 22 January 2010

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Weight-loss pill “causes strokes”


A weight-loss pill which regulators said raises the risk of heart attack and stroke when used by heart disease patients is no longer being marketed in Europe.

Doctors were warned to stop prescribing sibutramine by the European Medicines Agency, which recommended suspending Abbot Laboratories’ licence to market the drug, known as Reductil in Europe and Meridia in the US.

It is expected countries in the European Union will follow the agency’s advice after it said: “The risks of these medicines are greater than their benefits.”

Kurt Ebenhoch, spokesman for Abbott Laboratories, said: “We believe there are many patients who benefit from sibutramine and respectfully disagree with the committee’s opinion and the recommendation to suspend the medicine.”

In the US, the Food Standards Agency approved Meridia, which is related to the amphetamine family of stimulant drugs, as a weight-loss pill to be used in conjunction with a tailored diet and exercise in 1997.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Abbot Laboratories UK

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