The European Medicines Agency (EMA’s) safety committee (PRAC) has confirmed its recommendation to withdraw the marketing authorisations for amfepramone obesity medicines.
The recommendation follows a review which found that measures to restrict the use of these medicines for safety reasons have not been sufficiently effective. It found that the medicines were being used for longer than the recommended maximum period of 3 months, thereby potentially increasing the risk of serious side effects such as pulmonary arterial hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) and dependency. The medicines were also being used in patients with a history of heart disease or psychiatric disorders, increasing their risk of heart and psychiatric problems. In addition, there was evidence of use during pregnancy, which could pose risks to the unborn baby.
The review considered all available information relating to these concerns, including data from two studies on the use of amfepramone medicines in Germany and in Denmark. In addition, the PRAC received advice from a group of experts, comprising endocrinologists, cardiologists and a patient representative.
The PRAC considered introducing further measures to minimise the risk of side effects but could not identify any that would be sufficiently effective. The PRAC therefore concluded that the benefits of amfepramone medicines do not outweigh their risks and recommended that the medicines be removed from the market in the EU.
The PRAC recommendation will now be sent to the Coordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures – Human (CMDh) for its consideration.
More details including information for patients and healthcare professionals, are available here.