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.
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.