Anti-obesity drugs 'need safety data'
5 January 2007 00:00 in Industry related health news
More trials need to be carried out on the safety and effectiveness of drugs helping obese people to lose weight, Canadian researchers have warned.
Writing in the Lancet medical journal, they argue that further trials are necessary to ensure that doctors are confident the drugs' benefits outweigh the risks.
According to the International Obesity Task Force there are more than 300 million obese people worldwide with a further 800 million overweight.
In the UK, government statistics predict there were will be 12 million obese adults by 2010 unless steps are taken to halt this increase.
Currently the drugs Orlistat, Sibutramine and Rimonabant are used to aid weight loss, but the researchers report trials on them have been limited by a lack of long-term data on major obesity-related illness and death, particularly cardiovascular outcomes.
In the UK Rimonabant has been licensed since last year and is yet to gain approval in the US.
"In light of the lack of successful weight-loss treatments and the public health implications of the obesity pandemic, the development of safe and effective drugs should be a priority," Dr Raj Padwal and Dr Sumit Majumdar from the University of Alberta Hospital, Canada, said.
"We think that anti-obesity drug trials powered to show clinically important reductions in major obesity-related morbidity and mortality should be required either before these drugs are approved for widespread use or as a condition of ongoing approval.
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Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency