Anti-Obesity Drug No Cure-All

You may recall a study I posted late last fall about rimonabant, touted to be the latest cure-all drug for obesity. Even though the results of that study sounded surprisingly upbeat, the lead researcher pointed out, as I do here all the time on my Web site, taking a drug is no substitute for making the necessary lifestyle changes to optimize your health.

The largely optimistic numbers posted in the latest study conducted by Sanofi-Aventis were just as superficially impressive: 40 percent of the patients monitored lost three times as much weight as those on a placebo. And about a third of the overweight or obese patients surveyed lost 10 percent of their body weight after two years.

What impressed me even more were some of the negatives sprinkled around all the "good news":

  • Patients gained back some of their weight during the second year.
  • A fifth of the patients dropped out due to side effects -- nausea, diarrhea, dizziness and vomiting -- compared to 13 percent taking a placebo (higher than earlier trials).
  • Despite the "good news" about Acomplia (rimonanbant's brand name), the stock price of Sanofi-Aventis dropped.

The prospect of creating a "wonder drug" to battle obesity likely spurred Sanofi and Aventis to merge. However, I can't imagine taking a pill isn't any healthier for you or less expensive than learning how to optimize your health by making some lifestyle changes.

Yahoo News March 8, 2005

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