The European licence for Acomplia is currently suspended. No new prescriptions for this drug will be issued.
What is Acomplia (rimonabant)?
Acomplia (rimonabant) is a weight loss medication which targets the body's endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for the regulation of energy consumption and expenditure and it is believed to be overactive in most overweight people, thereby causing them to eat more food than their body actually requires. By blocking the activity of the CB1 receptor, Acomplia helps to normalise the operation of the endocannabinoid system, making hunger pangs and cravings much more manageable. This should lead to a reduction in food intake and a consequential loss of weight. Unfortunately Acomplia was withdrawn from the market some time ago because it caused quite severe psychiatric side effects in some patients. This means that Acomplia is no longer available to prescribe.
Acomplia is no longer available to prescribe but we can consider you for an alternative weight loss product if you are struggling to lose weight.
Before Acomplia was approved for use it had to go through extensive clinical trials to demonstrate its safety and effectiveness. Acomplia was tested on 6800 patients during the phase 2 and 3 clinical trials. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of Acomplia (rimonabant) it was compared against the results from a placebo control group so half the volunteers were given the real medication and the remainder of patients were given a placebo. Neither group was told whether they were on the real medication or the placebo.
The trial lasted two years and those taking Acomplia lost (on average) 4 times more weight than those taking the placebo. Most of the weight loss happened in the first 9 months and the Acomplia patients had managed to keep this weight off when the trial ended. Clearly Acomplia does not work for everyone in a uniform way. Just over half of the people on Acomplia managed a weight loss of 5% of their total body weight. The medication seemed more effective for another 27% who managed to lose 10% of their total body weight.
In addition to the weight loss achieved, patients had a reduction in waist circumference. The visceral fat that accumulates around the waist has been linked to heart disease and diabetes so any reduction will lead to an improvement in a patient's risk profile for these conditions. A reduction in cholesterol levels was also observed beyond those that you would normally associate with weight loss alone so Acomplia appears to have a beneficial impact on blood lipids.
Acomplia had its license suspended in October 2008 as it was felt that the risks associated with taking the medication were not outweighed by the potential advantages. Many people taking the medication suffered depression and there was substantial evidence of suicidal ideation.
Acomplia and Smoking
We often get asked about prescribing Acomplia for people who want to give up smoking. Although there was some evidence from the clinical trials that Acomplia could help people quit smoking Acomplia was never licensed for this purpose. If you are looking to give up smoking then we might be prepared to prescribe Champix depending on your medical history. Please navigate to the smoking cessation consultation page to start your free consultation.
Although we cannot prescribe Acomplia, we can consider you for alternative treatments with a better safety record. Please click on the Free Consultation icon below to begin the process with one of our doctors.