Product News and Recalls

Merck recalling heart medication

Pharmaceutical giant Merck is withdrawing its heart drug Tredaptive from the market in 40 countries after a study showed that it didn’t work, and caused more serious side effects than placebos.

A report on NPR says the drug was meant to prevent heart disease and stroke by promoting good cholesterol. It combines the vitamin niacin and laropiprant, a chemical that reduces the unpleasant skin flushing caused by high doses of niacin.

Other Merck medications have generated concerns recently. Januvia, the company’s treatment for Type 2 diabetes, has been linked to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

According to the NPR story, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration never approved Tredaptive for use in the United States. Merck has instructed doctors in the countries where it was approved to stop prescribing it.

A story in Forbes says Merck sent a letter to doctors, stating that Tredaptive caused side effects in seven “broad categories,” listed as follows:

  • blood and lymphatic
  • gastrointestinal
  • infections
  • metabolism
  • musculoskeletal
  • respiratory
  • skin

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns, and before making any changes in medication. You should also consult with a Lopez McHugh attorney if you or a loved one was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia or Byetta.

See the NPR story here:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/01/11/169125998/merck-halts-sale-of-tredaptive-niacin-drug-in-40-countries

See the Forbes story here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/01/11/what-merck-told-doctors-about-tredaptive-before-it-stopped-selling-it/