Health Alert (5): New Slimming Pill Banned

The European Union(EU) drugs watchdog agency has recommended that doctors stop prescribing one of the latest anti-obesity drugs – rimonabant – which is marketed as Acomplia.

Acomplia...from hero to zero

In a press release dated 23rd October 2008 ,The European Medicines Agency(EMEA) has said the risk of serious psychiatric problems and even suicide are too high in those taking this medicine. This drug was introduced end-2006 and is widely available in most Asian countries as well as the EU. In Great Britain alone, it is estimated that 97,000 have been prescribed this drug. To its credit, the United States FDA rejected its sale in the USA.

This medication has been marketed as an adjunct to diet & exercise for the treatment of obese patients and initial reports seemed to show good results on those who have tried it. To be fair, the makers Sanofi-Aventis had warned doctors not to prescribe this drug to those on anti-depressants or those with a history of depression.

However, recent studies, even by the makers themselves, revealed double the risk of psychiatric illness in those taking it. In a clinical trial between June-August this year, there were five suicides among patients taking it.

Click here if you wish to look at more  Q&As on Acomplia.

The message here is that, sometimes, its better to go for time-tested medications than to jump for every new kid on the block.

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4 responses

  1. Why did the relevant drug control authorities in the various countries approve the sale of this medicine then?
    Coming so soon after the melamine milk scandal, this has shaken consumers’ confidence like never before.

  2. Is this drug available in Malaysia? What do those people who are already on it do?
    Doctor2008 says: Yes, this drug was introduced to most Asian countries over a year ago. Regarding what to do, the European guidelines state that those who are already on it can continue – obviously they need to consult their doctors too.

  3. Doc,

    I am not a doctor. I don’t think taking pill to slim down is such a good idea. What is the use of being slim but physically unfit?

    Slimming down through a change in diet and regular exercise is probably much better.
    Your comments please.

    Doctor2008 says: Agree with you entirely. The pill is marketed as an adjunct to diet and exercise, not as a substitute. Unfortunately, in the UK it was made available over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription and this of course led to abuse. As an example of the importance of diet and exercise, just look at the Amish community (who still work on the farms and stick to a healthy diet) and contrast that with the Maoris, most of whom have become Westernised in their eating habits and now lead a sedentary lifestyle. You don’t need to be a doctor to appreciate this! 🙂

  4. some great info here!
    i’m adding this to my bookmarks…

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