As concerns about obesity rise, pharmaceutical manufacturers are racing to develop drugs to combat the problem.
Rimonabant, developed by drug manufacturer sanofi-aventis, might be the first to reach the public. Since its initial development in 1994, trials indicate it can “significantly improve multiple cardio-metabolic risk factors and markers by addressing excess midsection weight, and improving lipids (fats in the blood) such as levels of HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and glucose,” the company said in a statement issued in July.
Clinical trials of Rimonabant including more than 6,600 patients should be completed by the end of 2006, said Julissa Vianna, a sanofi-aventis spokeswoman. Researchers hope the drug will help lower rates of obesity and diabetes and will positively influence cholesterol levels. Though the product is still under FDA review in the United States, sanofi-aventis has been marketing the drug in the European Union under the brand name Acomplia since June.
David Salvo ([email protected]) is a freelance writer in Bloomington, Indiana.