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Psychiatric Risk and a Slimming Drug

Thursday, December 4th, 2008 Psychiatric Risk and a Slimming Drug

Laura Dixon of the Times (24 10 08) reports that an anti-obesity drug that has been prescribed to 97,000 people in the UK doubled the risk of psychiatric disorders in those who took it, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has found.

The drug ACOMPLIA has been licensed in Europe since June 2006 and the EMA have decided that the risks are to great, advising doctors to no longer prescribe. Concerns were that it may increase depression, sleep disorders, anxiety and aggression in some overweight or obese patients. The drug essentially was prescribed for people who were clinically classified as obese, or those who were overweight and suffer from problems like type 2 diabetes and a high cholesterol.

In a trial of 36,000 this summer, five of those taking the drug committed suicide, compared to only one of those taking the placebo. In actual fact back in February of this year every new drug licensed in Britain will be given a “suicide rating” under proposals for a big shake-up in the rules governing pharmaceutical development. The reform, based on a system adopted recently in the United States, has been fuelled by a growing body of evidence that drugs that affect the brain can heavily influence behaviour through seemingly innocuous changes in body chemistry.

Some of the side effects are as follows: :
Nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal disorders were relatively common side effects of taking Acomplia.

Disorders of the nervous system:
This category includes headaches, faintness and feeling dizzy.

Psychiatric disorders:
Including mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, sleep disorders and other similar disorders. The current advice is that you should not take this drug if you suffer from mental health problems. Tthe drug is not suitable for those with continuing major depressive illness and/or antidepressive treatment.

The latest news on this drug is that on 05 11 08 Sanofi-Aventis today announced that they have stopped research into Acomplia, so it is unlikely that it will be approved for use in the UK and Europe again.

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