Once again, another study shows that taking a pill for weight reduction, this one called Meridia, is a dangerous undertaking. Meridia is basically a fancy antidepressant which works by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin thereby reducing appetite. Studies have shown that it increases heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular problems over placebo. The European Medicines Agency, which is Europe’s counterpart to our FDA, has told the maker of the drug to stop selling it. The FDA has, of course, not gone that far. They have only required that it come with a warning on the label that it may be dangerous. It continues to amaze me that the pharmaceutical industry keeps trying to make a successful “obesity drug” and they all seem to be dangerous in one way or another.
The purpose of this drug is to reduce obesity and therefore reduce chronic health issues such as cardiovascular disease. The fact that it increases the likelihood of problems that it is supposed to prevent is incredible. What’s more incredible is that the FDA does not recognize this and is allowing the maker to continue to sell it. Here are the numbers from the study called the Scout Trial.
The Scout trial was a six-year study involving about 10,000 overweight and obese people who had a history of heart disease or diabetes, or both. About 11.4 percent of those who took the drug had a heart attack, stroke, or died from cardiovascular causes, compared to 10 percent of those getting the placebo, according to data from the study released by the FDA.
So to summarize, 10% of the participants, all of whom were at risk to begin with, died or had an adverse cardiovascular event and did not take the drug. Of the participants who did take the drug, 11.4% died or had an adverse cardiovascular event. I’m not sure why this is so hard to interpret. The numbers clearly show that the number of adverse events or deaths were lower in the group not taking the drug. You were clearly safer if you took the placebo.
The makers of the drug said that their product was not intended to be used for “high risk” patients. These high risk patients include people with obesity or a history of heart conditions. If a diet drug is not intended for people who are obese, then who is it for!? The population of people who will most likely get this drug are the very people in which these horrible side effects will take place. This company is clearly scrambling to try and find any way it can to save its product.
Many experts have weighed in on this subject and I am sure it will shock you to know that the experts backing the safety of this product were all consultants to various pharmaceutical companies and the experts recommending the drug’s withdrawal were independent doctors with no ties to Big Pharma.