Popular obesity drug Reductil will no longer be sold in Britain due to fears of heart attack and stroke among its thousands of regular users. Around 86,000 obese and overweight Britons have taken the drug last year.
Safety watchdog European Medicine Agency (EMA) fears it could threaten the health of the overweight and obese, although it says any side-effects should not be fatal.
However, some 17 deaths have been linked to the drug in Britain since 2001 - six of which were caused by heart attacks and strokes. Some 1,105 suspected adverse reactions have been reported, a third of them serious. Reductil is the second anti-obesity drug to be banned in Britain.
Two years ago, EMA suspended another drug named 'Acomplia' over fears it could it could lead to suicidal thoughts. Reductil is made by Abbot Laboratories.
Last night, Dr June Raine, of the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said: "Evidence suggests that there is an increased risk of non-fatal heart attacks and strokes with this medicine that outweigh the benefits of weight loss, which is modest and may not be sustained in the long term after stopping treatment."
Last night, Eugene Sun of Chicago-based Abbott said: "Many people benefit from sibutramine and we respectfully disagree with the committee's opinion and recommendation to suspend the medicine."
The EMA's decision leaves Orlistat as the only anti-obesity drug still freely available in the UK.
(original article appeared @ Digital Journal )