Diet Drug Meridia Withdrawn Due to Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Meridia, a diet drug manufactured by Abbott Industries and taken by approximately 100,000 Americans, is being withdrawn from the market because it can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Abbott has voluntarily recalled the drug but did so under pressure from the FDA. The FDA said in a statement that “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. “
Controversy has surrounded Meridia since it was first submitted for FDA approval in 1997. At that time, an F.D.A. advisory panel recommended against its approval because it raises blood pressure and heart rate. In 2005, consumer watchdog Public Citizen unsuccessfully urged the F.D.A. to remove the drug from the market.