Abbott has decided to voluntarily withdraw anti-obesity prescription medicine Meridia (sibutramine) from the US market, following concerns that it raises cardiovascular risks.

The move follows a request to withdraw the drug by the US Food and Drug Administration, which is concerned about the results of a post-marketing trial that assessed the cardiovascular safety of the drug in high-risk patients.

The six-year study, which enrolled about 10,000 patients, showed that sibutramine was associated with cardiovascular risk.

Abbott has requested the patients who are on sibutramine to stop using the medication, and to consult their physicians for alternatives.

The European Medicines Agency suspended marketing authorisation for all anti-obesity medications containing sibutramine in January 2010.