updated 10/8/2010 12:38:48 PM ET 2010-10-08T16:38:48

Abbott Laboratories says it is withdrawing its diet pill Meridia in the U.S. and Canada, almost a year after studies showed the drug increases the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with a history of heart disease.

Meridia has been available in both countries for more than a decade. Abbott says it made the decision at the request of the Food and Drug Administration. Earlier in the day, Health Canada, the nation's health department, announced the drug would come off the market there.

European regulators pulled the product off the market in January citing data showing that patients who had heart disease were more likely to have heart attacks or stroke while taking the drug.

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