Falling sales -- not safety questions -- are the reason, says Abbott spokeswoman Laureen Cassidy. "Cylert sales for this year will be less than $1 million," she tells WebMD. "It's been declining over the years."
Cylert has been available since 1975. It's now available under its generic name, pemoline.
The nonprofit group Public Citizen petitioned the FDA yesterday to remove Cylert -- including all generic versions of the drug -- citing an increased risk of serious liver problems and death from liver failure.
The petition says that as of May 1996, Cylert had caused 13 cases of acute liver failure, resulting in death or liver transplantation in 11 cases. The petition also says that from 1975-1996, there were 193 "adverse drug reactions involving the liver in patients younger than 20 years old."
Cassidy declined to comment on those charges, calling them unrelated to Cylert's discontinuation. Abbott had already decided to drop Cylert due to sales, she says.
Abbott plans to give doctors several months to switch patients to other therapies, Cassidy adds.