The Food and Drug Administraion announced today that the weight loss drug Meridia (sibutramine) will be pulled off the market today. The drug’s maker has voluntarily agreed to stop selling the Meridia after studies show it causes an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
“Meridia’s continued availability is not justified when you compare the very modest weight loss that people achieve on this drug to their risk of heart attack or stroke,” said Dr. John Jenkins, M.D., director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA‘s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Physicians are advised to stop prescribing Meridia to their patients and patients should stop taking this medication. Patients should talk to their health care provider about alternative weight loss and weight loss maintenance programs.”
The clinical studies show that those on Meridia were 16 percent more likely to suffer from a serious heart event than those taking a placebo. Approved in 1997, the diet pill initially showed that it could help people lose five percent more of their body weight than those relying on diet and exercise alone. However, later reports of heart problems raised concern about Meridia’s safety.