Saturday, January 06, 2007

Anti-obesity therapies should be tested for their efficiency

BBC News: Better data on the long-term effects of anti-obesity drugs is needed before more widespread use of the therapies, a Canadian study says.

Researchers said such drugs would become more important in the future to combat the growing obesity crisis.
But the University of Alberta Hospital said in the Lancet that data on drugs already in use was limited particularly over cardiovascular outcomes.

They said there should be better testing of anti-obesity therapies.

The team analyzed articles published over the last six years on three drugs - hunger suppressant sibutramine, orlistat, which restricts the absorption of fat, and rimonabant, a relatively new drug being targeted at people with diabetes.

They said the long-term impact of the drugs was not clearly known with side effects including increased blood pressure and pulse rate for sibutramine and mood-related disorders for rimonabant reported.

The three drugs are used in the UK - where one in five adults are classed as obese - although they are restricted for clinically obese people or those at risk through conditions such as diabetes.

Doctors normally only prescribe them in tandem with exercise and dietary regimes and they are not often used for longer than a year.

But the researchers said as the obesity crisis escalates, as it is predicted to do, clinicians will have to increasingly rely on drug treatment programmes.

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