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A weight-loss drug not approved in the US or Scotland has been approved for patients in the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales.
Today, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published final guidance on the use of rimonabant (brand name Acomplia) in the treatment of overweight and obese patients.
The guidance recommends rimonabant, manufactured by sanofi-aventis, as an addition to diet and exercise for obese or overweight adults who have tried or cannot take other weight-loss drugs, such as orlistat and sibutramine.
Rimonabant treatment should be continued beyond six months only if patients lose at least 5% of their initial body weight during the treatment. It should be discontinued if the patient returns to their pre-treatment weight.
The guidelines cautioned on prescribing the drug to patients with a history of depressive disorders and urged careful clinical monitoring of any such episodes occurring during treatment.
Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive and Executive Lead for the guideline said:
“The independent advisory committee recommended rimonabant, along with diet and exercise, as a treatment option for adults who are obese or overweight. This is good news for patients for whom orlistat and sibutramine are not effective.
Dr David Haslam, Clinical Director of the National Obesity Forum, said:
“Today’s new guidance from NICE is of real benefit to doctors trying to manage this growing group of patients… We therefore look forward to NHS trusts providing the funding within three months to implement this guidance, as they are obliged to do, so this treatment option can be made available for all patients who could benefit from it.”