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Rimonbant shows promise in addressing multiple risk factors

Quebec City, Canada, March 9, 2004 - Results of a Phase III clinical trial (RIO-Lipids or Rimonabant In Obesity) comparing rimonabant, the first drug in a new class called Selective CB1 Blockers (or SCB1Bs), to placebo found that overweight or obese patients with untreated dyslipidemia (high triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol) lost almost 20 lbs (8.6 kg) when treated for a year with rimonabant 20mg. Weight loss was accompanied by a decrease in waist size of 3.4 inches (9.1 cm) demonstrating a significant reduction in abdominal obesity, an independent marker for heart disease. Dramatic improvements were also seen in lipid profile with a 23% increase in HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) and a 15% decrease in triglycerides. Improvements in glucose tolerance and insulin levels were also observed. In another important finding, the number of patients diagnosed at baseline with metabolic syndrome,1 who were treated with rimonabant 20mg, was reduced by half. The drug was also found to be safe and well-tolerated.

Rimonabant works by inhibiting the CB1 receptor, one of two receptors found in a newly described physiological system called the Endocannabinoid System (EC System), believed to play a critical role in the regulation of food intake and energy expenditure.

"While the weight loss was clinically relevant, what is truly remarkable in the RIO-Lipids study is the significant effect rimonabant had on improving associated cardiovascular risk factors," said Jean-Pierre Despr's, principal investigator for RIO-Lipids and Professor in the Department of Food Sciences and Nutrition and Medicine at Laval University, and Director of Research at the Quebec Heart Institute located at the Laval Hospital Center in Quebec City, Canada. "Rimonabant appears to have a direct effect on fat cells which may be contributing to the beneficial effects of this drug on abdominal obesity and associated risk factors. Couple this with the markedly
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Contact: Glenn Lehrman
glenn.lehrman@ketchum.com
917-533-5998
Ketchum
9-Mar-2004


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