Rimonabant hydrochloride: an investigational agent for the management of cardiovascular risk factors.Drugs Today (Barc). 2005 Aug; 41(8):499-508.DT
Rimonabant hydrochloride, the first drug in a new class of selective cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor antagonists, is showing promise in clinical trials for the treatment of obesity and related metabolic risk factors, in addition to tobacco dependence. Results of phase III clinical trials comparing rimonabant with placebo found that overweight or obese patients, with or without untreated dyslipidemia or type 2 diabetes, lost significant body weight when treated with rimonabant 20 mg for a year. The weight loss was accompanied by a decrease in waist circumference, demonstrating a significant reduction in abdominal obesity, which is an independent marker for cardiovascular disease. Significant improvements were also observed in the lipid profile, with an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and a decrease in triglyceride levels. Improvements in glucose tolerance and insulin levels were also found. Moreover, the number of patients diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome at baseline was significantly reduced. These beneficial effects of rimonabant 20 mg were maintained after 2 years of chronic treatment. Other phase III trials have shown that rimonabant helps people to quit smoking without significant post-cessation weight gain. Rimonabant has a favorable safety profile and is generally well tolerated. Rimonabant is proving to be a very promising approach for managing two major and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This review summarizes the available evidence on the clinical efficacy and safety of rimonabant as a potential therapy for obesity and smoking cessation.