Friday, June 15, 2007

Popular weight loss pill is a 'suicide risk'

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A weight loss pill used by thousands of Britons has been branded a suicide risk by drug safety officials.

More than 10,000 Britons are believed to be using the prescription-only drug Acomplia, which can help dieters lose up to ten per cent of their body weight.

Hailed as an important weapon in the war against obesity, it interferes with the part of the brain involved with cravings.

But on Thursday, a committee advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted to ban the pill after concerns about its psychiatric side-effects. The 14-member-panel heard testimony that Acomplia increases the risk of suicidal thoughts even in patients without a history of depression.

Its maker, the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, had failed to demonstrate the drug was safe.

The FDA is not bound to follow the committee's advice, but the unanimous verdict makes it unlikely that the drug will be approved in the U.S. Sanofi-Aventis had planned to launch Acomplia – chemically known as rimonabant – last year in America, the world's biggest drug market.

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Source : thisislondon




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