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Dec 3, 2009 10:10 AM by Associated Press

Consumer advocate asks FDA to ban weight loss pill

A consumer advocacy group is petitioning the government to ban the weight loss pill Meridia because a recent study suggests it increases risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

A letter Thursday from Public Citizen calls on the Food and Drug Administration to pull Abbott Laboratories' drug from the U.S. market, where it is used by roughly a quarter million people.

Preliminary results from a 10,000-patient study showed a slightly higher risk of heart-related problems in patients taking Meridia compared with a dummy pill. Patients in the study were older than 55, overweight with a history of heart disease or diabetes.

FDA said it was "making no conclusions about the preliminary findings," when they were released last month.

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