Chemical balancer is linked to heart attack and strokes

NEW YORK — A chemical balancer in New York state linked to multiple strokes has been shut down, a state health official said Friday.

Dr. Daniel Boberg, a former professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Rochester, said in a statement the company, GlaxoSmithKline, had decided not to continue using the chemical, known as azithromycin, on patients, which could affect patients who have already been treated for strokes.

Boberger said the company had notified patients that it no longer had a license to use the medication.

He added that doctors and patients were being notified that the company is suspending its use of the drug.

Azithromyci is used to treat fevers, coughs, sore throats and a variety of other conditions, including migraines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biro said the drug can cause severe and long-lasting health effects.

In New York, GloxoSmith is the second-largest pharmaceutical company after Johnson & Johnson, and it has about $1 billion in annual revenue.

It sells drugs to more than a dozen U.S. health systems and the U.K.

Boberg said the state’s health department had been informed of the new discovery and that it would continue to investigate.

Biro said that the state health department’s investigation was focused on how the drug was being marketed and how the company was complying with federal and state laws.

He did not say what the investigation is looking at.