A leading obesity drug has been withdrawn after studies showed it increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has told doctors to stop prescribing sibutramine, marketed as Reductil, and review its use in patients already taking it.
MHRA has suspended the prescribing of Reductil following an European study of the drug.
The drug works by altering chemical messages to the brain which control cravings for food.
"Evidence suggests that there is an increased risk of non-fatal heart attacks and strokes with this medicine that outweigh the benefits of weight loss, which is modest and may not be sustained in the long term after stopping treatment," the Scotsman quoted Dr June Raine, the director of Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines at the MHRA, as saying.
Raine said no new prescriptions should be issued and doctors should review the treatment of patients taking the drug.
"Pharmacists are asked to cease dispensing the medicine. People who are currently taking Reductil are advised to make a routine appointment with their doctor to discuss alternative measures to lose weight. There are no health implications if people wish to stop treatment before seeing their doctor," Raine added.