The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has found that among nearly 10,000 overweight or obese patients, those who used Meridia had a 16% greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke over an average 3.4 years than patients taking a placebo. None of the events were fatal, but the finding was especially worrisome since the trial included only patients with a previous history of heart disease or diabetes, or both, which put them at high risk of a second event. Being overweight, they were also already at a higher risk of heart-related health problems.
A study was commissioned by the European Union's European Medical Agency, after initial studies of Meridia users, conducted prior to 2002, found that the drug raised blood pressure and pulse rates, both well known risk factors for heart disease. When Meridia, which suppresses appetite by regulating the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, was approved for use in the U.S. in 1997, the FDA included a warning about these risks on the label.
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