Merck & Co., Inc.'s Tredaptive Raises Risk of Muscle Pain in Study

Published: Feb 27, 2013

Merck (MRK) & Co.’s cholesterol therapy Tredaptive, which the company stopped selling this year because it was ineffective and possibly harmful, raised rates of muscle pain and weakness in patients, a study found. Muscle pain and weakness were found to be most common in Chinese patients, researchers said, with rates four times higher than those on placebo or of Europeans in the study of 25,673 patients published today in the European Heart Journal. Merck, the second-biggest U.S. drugmaker, said in December it wouldn’t seek U.S. approval for the treatment and stopped selling it globally in January. The medicine is approved in 70 countries and was sold in 40. Tredaptive combines the vitamin niacin, which has been shown to help with cholesterol levels, with the experimental medicine laropiprant, added to reduce a face-flushing effect of the vitamin. “The participants in China seemed to be at more risk than the participants in Europe,” Jane Armitage, the study’s lead investigator and a professor of clinical trials and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, said in a telephone interview. “We saw more effect than we had anticipated.”

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