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Merck & Co. stops sale of cholesterol treatment

Drug maker Merck & Co. is suspending its sale of the cholesterol drug Tredaptive after initial results from a study showed that it wasn’t effective and could raise the risk of some serious side effects.

The Whitehouse Station, N.J., company said Friday it is telling doctors to quit prescribing the tablets, which are not approved in the United States, and is advising patients to stop taking the medication only after talking to a physician.

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The drug is sold in about 40 countries, including Europe.

Merck said last month initial results from a big, late-stage study showed that adding Tredaptive to traditional statin therapy failed to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and related problems. The drug maker said then that doctors should stop prescribing Tredaptive to new patients.

Results also showed that patients taking the cholesterol combination pill were more likely to suffer some serious, nonfatal adverse events.

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