There was no difference in the overall drop out rate between patients on rimonabant or placebo. The number experiencing side effects in the rimonabant groups were slightly higher than those in the placebo group. Side effects were mostly mild and transient. The most common side effects where incidence was higher with rimonabant 20mg than placebo were nausea (12.7% vs. 3.2%) and dizziness (10.4% vs. 6.7%). The drop out rate due to side effects was higher in the rimonabant 20mg group vs. placebo (15% vs. 7%). Importantly, no cardiovascular safety concerns were identified with rimonabant.
"It is apparent from these studies that rimonabant could significantly impact the way our bodies regulate energy balance by acting in the brain and on fat cells throughout the body," says Dr. Despres. "This suggests the importance of the Endocannabinoid System that we are only beginning to understand. The promise of rimonabant is that it may provide an entirely new therapeutic strategy that targets the cause (abdominal obesity) of multiple risk factors for a more integrated approach to cardiovascular disease risk management."
UNDERSTANDING RIMONABANT AND THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The Endocannabinoid System (EC System) has recently been identified and characterized in animals and humans and its role continues to be explored. The EC System is believed to play an important role in maintaining energy balance by helping to regulate food intake and energy expenditure. Its also plays a role in tobacco dependence. Increased activity of the EC System is associated with excessive food intake and fat accumulation in overweight/obesity as well as in chronic tobacco use.