Here's an urgent warning for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who've taken the heart drug Multaq: The FDA says it may double the risk of death in some patients.
The alert comes out of a recent study cut short earlier this summer by the drug's maker, Sanofi-Aventis -- but the company didn't bother to mention that whopper of a death risk at the time.
Nope, they only made a vague reference to a "significant increase" in heart problems and said in a press release that "patients currently taking Multaq should not stop their therapy and should consult their treating physician should they have any questions."
They got it half right: If you've been taking Multaq for the irregular heartbeat and heart rhythm problems marked by A-fib, definitely consult your physician if you have any questions.
I recommend this question: "How fast can you get me off this med?"
The aborted trial was on 3,000 patients who suffered from permanent atrial fibrillation -- not the temporary form of A-fib the drug was approved for, and the feds say it's too soon to tell if the risks carry over.
But I wouldn't stick around to find out if I were you. The FDA also says that in addition to doubling the death rate, the drug doubled the rate of stroke and heart failure hospitalizations when compared to patients on the placebo, according to the study.
I'm not sure why anyone at the agency is acting surprised over this, though -- after all, it's not the first time the FDA has issued a warning over Multaq.
It's not the second, third or fourth either.
It's actually the fifth time, with previous warnings issued over the potential risks of congestive heart failure, another form of heart arrhythmia, bad interactions with the blood thinner warfarin, and even a possible link to liver failure.
Those are some frightening risks, and if you're suffering from A-fib the last thing you need is that kind of worry -- because stress itself is a serious risk factor for the condition.
So work with your doctor -- ideally a naturopathic one -- to find your way off this med, and don't forget the completely natural drug-free techniques that have helped so many patients get their A-fib under control.
Yoga, vitamin C, and simple lifestyle changes like giving up smoking can lead to dramatic improvement, and you can read about some of them right here, for free.