The Dangers of Meridia
Information about a Weight Loss Drug from Our South Carolina Injury Lawyers
Generally, doctors prescribe medication to help patients become healthier. If you have problems with weight loss, your doctor may want to offer assistance through alternative methods, including weight loss drugs. However, the side effects of one weight loss drug, Meridia, could cause additional health problems for overweight patients. The South Carolina injury attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC want to share important information about this potentially defective drug so that you know how to take action if you or a loved one has been the victim of its dangerous side effects.
Studies on Meridia
On January 21, 2010, the day that U. S. Regulators warned that Meridia (sibutramine) shouldn’t be given to patients with a history of heart problems, their counterparts in Europe said the popular diet drug should be banned. The European Medicines Agency said that sibutramine – sold in Europe under several names, including Reductil, Reduxade and Zelium – should be pulled from the market because of associated risks of stroke and heart attack.
The call for a European ban came after a study of 10,000 patients suggested that the medication puts them at a higher risk for heart disease. The study, Sibutramine Cardiovascular Morbidity/Mortality Outcomes in Overweight or Obese Subjects at Risk of a Cardiovascular Event (SCOUT), began in 2002 and involved patients who were 55 years of age or older, overweight or obese and had a history of heart disease or type 2 diabetes plus one additional cardiovascular risk factor. Patients who recently had a heart attack or stroke or had poorly controlled congestive heart failure were not included in the study.
Preliminary data from SCOUT showed that cardiovascular events were reported in 11.4% of patients using Meridia compared to 10% of patients using a placebo. According to the FDA Early Communication issued in November, this difference was higher than expected, suggesting that Meridia is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk in the study population.
Based on the SCOUT findings, the European Medicines Agency found that “the risks of these medicines are greater than their benefits.” Its decision passed to the European Commission for review.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that because of the SCOUT findings, Abbott Laboratories agreed to add a new contraindication to the Meridia label so that it not be used in patients with a history of heart disease, including:
- History of coronary artery disease (e.g., heart attack, angina)
- History of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- History of heart arrhythmias
- History of congestive heart failure
- History of peripheral arterial disease
- Uncontrolled hypertension (e.g., >145/90 mmHg)
Meridia is a drug typically prescribed to patients with a history of obesity or being overweight. However, this particular patient population is already at a greater risk of cardiovascular events.
At McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, our South Carolina injury attorneys offer all potential clients a free consultation to assist them in determining their legal rights. If you or a family member has suffered a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular event while on Meridia, please contact an experienced South Carolina injury attorney today. We will determine your rights concerning Meridia, because your life is our mission.