Psychiatric risk suspends anti-obesity drug

Friday 24th October, 2008

Are you one of the 20,000 people using the anti-obesity drug ‘Acomplia’? If so, doctors have been told to stop prescribing the drug over fears it may be causing a risk of psychiatric problems and suicidal tendencies.

The drug ‘Rimonabant’, which is know by its brand name ‘Acomplia’, was recommended for suspension by the European Medicines Evaluation Agency due to the increased risk of anxiety, depression, sleep disorders (such as insomnia) and aggressive behaviour in some obese patients.

The body responsible for drug safety have told doctors to stop issuing new prescriptions of the drug. Currently, an estimated 97,000 people in the UK have been prescribed Acomplia but those actively using the drug should consult with their GP as they do not necessarily have to stop taking it immediately.

The anti-obesity drug received NHS approval in June 2008 despite concerns that it posed a risk of patients suffering depression and committing suicide. The European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) issued a warning back in June 2007 that taking the drug alongside anti-depressants was unsafe.

A recent study into the drug by its manufacturer Sanofi-aventis showed that the risk of developing psychiatric problems doubled when taking Acomplia. In a trial of the drug involving 36,000 people, five committed suicide.

In a statement by the EMEA, their medicinal products for human use committee “has concluded that the benefits of Acomplia no longer outweigh its risks”.

The anti-obesity drug was initially seen as a possible answer to the country’s growing obesity problem. Once again, the negative side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs have outweighed any benefits they may, or may not, have. Finding a way to beat obesity naturally can be found in alternative medicine and complementary therapy practices.

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