Permax, a drug taken for Parkinson's disease, is to be gradually removed from the Chinese market because of the risk of heart damage, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) announced on Tuesday.
As stopping Permax suddenly could be dangerous, the administration ordered its production, sale and use in China to be completely suspended by Jan. 1, 2008.
The SFDA said it made the decision because "the risks of Permax outweigh the possible benefits for the patients based on analyses from home and abroad".
Pergolide Mesylate, or Permax, was approved in 1988 for treatment of the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Two studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January 2007 confirmed previous studies that linked Permax to heart valve disease.
However, the SFDA has received no reports on adverse reactions to Permax since 1996 when it was introduced to the Chinese market.
Several countries, including the United States, the Republic of Korea, Bahrain and Israel, have halted the marketing of Permax.
The SFDA warned that Permax should not be stopped abruptly and suggested gradually decreasing dosages for Parkinson patients, who should consult medical professionals to find an alternative treatment.
China has two companies producing Permax, one in Tianjin and the other in Shanghai.
There are about 1.7 million Parkinson patients in China.
(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2007)