What Merck & Co., Inc. Told Doctors About Tredaptive Before It Stopped Selling It

Published: Jan 15, 2013

This morning, Merck announced that it would suspend sales of Tredaptive, the heart drug that combines the B vitamin niacin with a new medicine, laropiprant, that prevents niacin’s main side effect, hot, unpleasant, facial flushing. This comes just weeks after a big trial of Tredaptive not only found that the drug did not prevent heart attacks, strokes, and heart procedures as was expected bu that it also caused many serious side effects. The European Medicines Agency also issued a review saying that Tredaptive’s benefits do not outweigh its risks. Before the decision to pull the plug entirely on the drug was made, Merck sent a letter to doctors in many of the European countries where Tredaptive was available (it was never approved in the United States.) Below is that letter, which says the drug caused side effects in seven “broad categories:”

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