11 Oct 2010

Weight loss drug withdrawn

3:34 pm on 11 October 2010

A popular weight loss drug has been withdrawn from sale because it increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Sibutramine, which is sold under the brand name Reductil, has already been withdrawn in Australia, Canada, and the United States because of health concerns.

A review meeting on Monday involving Medsafe and the Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee found that Reductil should be withdrawn because the risks far outweigh the benefits.

A study of 10,000 patients found that sibutramine raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes and this contributed to the recommendation.

Drug company Abbott says it has stopped distributing the drug, and doctors and phamarcists are being advised not to give it to patients.