EU watchdog urges weight-loss drug sale suspension

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The European Union's medicines watchdog has recommended a weight-loss drug be taken off the market over fears it could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) on Thursday recommended sibutramine be taken off the market after a six-year investigation involving nearly 10,000 patients.

An agency committee concluded the risks of the drug outweighed the benefits and "recommended the suspension of marketing authorisations for these medicines across the European Union," the EMEA said in a statement.

Sibutramine is contained in medicines including Reductil, Reduxade and Zelium, which are aimed at helping weight loss in overweight patients with other conditions such as diabetes.

"Doctors should no longer prescribe, and pharmacists should no longer dispense the medicine," said the agency.

It added patients using the drug should make an appointment with their doctor to discuss alternative weight loss treatments.