Background: Obesity and overweight affect more than half of the US population and are associated with a
number of diseases. Rimonabant, a cannabinoid receptor 1 blocker in the endocannabinoid (EC) system, was indicated in
Europe for the treatment of obesity and overweight patients with associated risk factors but withdrawn on Jan, 2009
because of side effects. Many studies have reported the effects of rimonabant on gastrointestinal (GI) motility and food
The aims of this review are: (1) to review the relationship of EC system with GI motility and food intake; (2) to review the
studies of rimonabant on GI motility, food intake and obesity; (3) and to report the tolerance and side effects of rimonabant.
Methods: the literature (Pubmed database) was searched using keywords: rimonabant, obesity and GI motility.
Results: GI motility is related with appetite, food intake and nutrients absorption. The EC system inhibits GI motility,
reduces emesis and increases food intake; Rimonabant accelerates gastric emptying and intestinal transition but decreases
energy metabolism and food intake. There is rapid onset of tolerance to the prokinetic effect of rimonabant. The main side
effects of rimonabant are depression and GI symptoms.
Conclusions: Rimonabant has significant effects on energy metabolism and food intake, probably mediated via its effects
on GI motility.