Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12 Tips for Traveling With Diabetes
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter
Latest
Popular
Top Rated
Diabetes Health Reference Charts
Medications Archives
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

Gene testing could have saved weight-loss drug

Aug 19, 2010

This press release is an announcement submitted by Reuters Health, and was not written by Diabetes Health.

Acomplia, known generically as rimonabant, blocks the same reward receptors in the brain that become active during marijuana use, and for some people, it caused serious bouts of anxiety and depression.

(Reuters) - Genetic testing might have helped identify people who would become depressed or suicidal while taking Sanofi-Aventis' weight loss drug Acomplia, which might have helped keep the drug on the market, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

They said partial results from a study of the drug in which five people committed suicide confirmed that it increased the risk of psychiatric side effects.

The study was halted in 2008 and the company pulled the drug from the market in Europe, but the researchers think genetic testing might have been able to identify people who were at risk of the side effects, and rescue the once-promising treatment, said Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, whose study appears in the journal Lancet.

Acomplia, known generically as rimonabant, blocks the same reward receptors in the brain that become active during marijuana use, and for some people, it caused serious bouts of anxiety and depression that led to suicide.

"Finding the gene for severe adverse drug reactions is a lot easier than we ever thought it would be," Topol said in a telephone interview.

Topol thinks if they had thought to collect genetic information on the study's more than 18,000 participants, they might have spared the drug.

"We probably could have figured out genomically who was susceptible and that drug could be quite viable," Topol said in a telephone interview.

Hopes had been high for Acomplia, which not only helped people lose weight but helped them achieve more normal blood sugar levels and improvements in blood fats known as triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, the so-called good cholesterol.

In Topol's study, which looked at the heart benefits of the drug, four patients taking rimonabant and one person taking a placebo committed suicide.

Of the results they had, they found deaths from heart disease, heart attacks and strokes occurred at similar rates in both groups, and they did find that serious psychiatric side effects were increased in rimonabant users compared with placebo.

Due to these side effects, the European Medicines Agency recommended doctors no longer prescribe rimonabant from October 2008. Concerns about side effects prevented the drug from winning U.S. regulatory approval.

Topol says it is likely too late to revive Acomplia, but he said the study does offer insights about how to avoid similar problems with drugs in the future.

"Genomics could potentially be used to pre-empt use of the drug in individuals with risk of serious adverse events," he said in a statement.

* * *

Source:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE67B5BB20100812


Categories: Blood Sugar, Laboratory Tests, Losing weight, Medications, Medications Research, Pre-Diabetes, Research, Type 2 Issues, Weight Loss



You May Also Be Interested In...


Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Comments 0 comments - Aug 19, 2010

©1991-2014 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.