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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

WSJ links rimonabant to 5 UK deaths

The Wall Street Journal has linked rimonabant (Acomplia®) to five deaths in the United Kingdom.

According to the Drug Analysis Print produced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) there have been over 2,000 adverse drug reactions reported up to May 2008 including the five deaths.

Both the MHRA and WSJ point out that spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions does not demonstrate a causal link. The WSJ also notes that rimonabant is not licensed in America, as previously reported, although an application is expected in 2009 as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Rimonabant is currently unlicensed in the UK for use as a treatment in diabetes; as such responsibility would rest entirely with the prescribing clinician.

Action: Clinicians should continue to adopt a cautious approach to using rimonabant. Changes in lifestyle, including Diet and exercise, are key to sustained weight loss. Rimonabant must not be used as a treatment for diabetes.

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