Hay-fever drug banned in the US

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A hay-fever drug which is widely used in Britain is to be banned in the United States after 17 deaths and 40 cases of serious heart problems associated with it.

The drug terfenadine is sold under the names Triludan and Seldane, and is popular because it is non-sedative, unlike other hay-fever remedies with anti-histamine action.

It has been available since the mid-1980s in the US and in the UK but in 1992 the drug authorities became aware of potentially fatal effects on heart rhythm when the drug was taken at the same time as certain antibiotics. People with liver disease are also vulnerable. The UK Committee on Safety of Medicines says it is aware of the FDA's action but has no plans to follow suit. The drug's manufacturer in the US, Hoechst Marion Roussel, says it will challenge the decision, and that terfenadine is safe when prescribed properly in appropriate patients.