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Published on 3 September 2010

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Weight-loss drug raises heart risk

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The weight-loss drug Meridia raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with heart disease, a study suggests.

Evidence of the risk was presented by the drug’s maker Abbott Laboratories, sparking renewed calls for its removal from the market.

Patients given Meridia in the SCOUT study had a 16% higher risk than those given a placebo of experiencing problems like stroke or heart attack.

In two weeks’ time, the US Food and Drug Administration will hold a public hearing to discuss taking against the drug, which health chiefs in Europe have already withdrawn.

“When you put those … things together, you have to wonder if the drug should be on the market any longer,” said Dr Gregory Curfman of the New England Journal of Medicine.

European and US health officials were alerted to the initial findings of Abbott’s research late last year, leading to Meridia’s removal from the European drug market.

Copyright Press Association 2010

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