The United Kingdom is pioneering a drug that’s designed to help people lose weight by targeting parts of the body that control appetite and energy use.
Rimonabant, known by its trade name Acomplia, is said to not only reduce bodyweight by up to 10 percent but also helps people stop smoking, Sky News reported Thursday.
Britain is the first country to have the drug after a license was granted throughout the European Union. But the drug must still gain approval from Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
At a cost of about $100 per patient per month, or about $3.50 per tablet, treatment could cost Britain’s National Health Service billions of dollars, Sky News noted. However the drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi Aventis, says that must be compared with the nearly $13 billion annual cost of treating problems connected with obesity.
In trials involving more than 6,000 patients in the United States and Europe, about a quarter of those taking Rimonabant lost more than 10 percent of their initial body weight after a year. In addition, trial data also suggest the drug might help people control a craving for nicotine.