Safety, Efficacy and Ethical Issues Regarding Weight-Loss Medications

Michael William Lee


Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2009;2(2):111-113. 

In This Article


In October 2008, two promising obesity treatments were essentially eliminated from future clinical application. Merck & Co., Inc. announced that the clinical development of taranabant was halted due to an unfavorable safety profile.[101] Approximately 3 weeks later, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the EMEA concluded that the benefits of rimonabant (Acomplia®) no longer outweigh its risks, and recommended the suspension of the marketing authorization of Acomplia.[102] Thus, orlistat and sibutramine are the only remaining medications approved for the long-term treatment of obesity. Given that the WHO estimates that there are currently over 300 million obese adults worldwide,[103] the need for additional pharmacologic options remains unfulfilled. What safety, efficacy and ethical issues need to be addressed to order to improve such an unsatisfactory situation?


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