Appetite suppressant drug Sibutramine, also known as Reducti, should neither be prescribed by doctors nor dispensed by pharmacists, recommended European Medicines Agency (EMEA).
EMEA concluded in a review that increased risks of heart attacks and strokes outweigh the benefits of the drug. A trial of 10,000 patients followed for six years comparing Sibutramine to a placebo has not yet been reported but the regulator warned that heart attacks and strokes were more common in those taking the drug.
People taking the drug only achieved modest weight loss when compared to those on a placebo, the report from EMEA said. Diabetes UK Care adviser Caroline Butler said, "Following recommendations from the EMEA, we would advise people with diabetes who are overweight and taking Sibutramine to see their GP or healthcare professional to discuss an alternative weight loss drug”.
Butler suggested that if people are concerned they should stop taking Sibutramine immediately.
Sibutramine was licensed for people classified as obese and should be taken for up to one year. More than 300,000 prescriptions for Sibutramine were dispensed in England last year.