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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 10:20 GMT
Stroke drug linked to 40 deaths
The drug can cause liver failure
A drug treatment for stroke has been linked to the deaths of 40 people in Japan.

The treatment, Radicut, was approved for use in Japan in 2001.

Since then it has been taken by an estimated 180,000 patients.

However, 93 people have subsequently suffered liver failure.

And Japan's health ministry confirmed on Friday that 40 of those - mostly elderly people - have died.

It is urging doctors to prescribe the drug only with great caution, especially when considering it for use by elderly people.

The drug, manufactured by Mitsubishi Pharma Co, has only been approved for use in Japan.

Radicut, also known by the generic name of edaravone, is designed to protect the brain cells of patients who have suffered a stroke, or a restriction of blood to the brain.

A Mitsubishi Pharma spokesman said it will renew efforts to ensure doctors are properly informed about possible serious side effects of the drug.

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