Rimonabant for Obesity
Pp. 131-149 (19)
Cintia Curioni, Cintia Azara and Jane Capelli
According to the World Health Organization, obesity is a multifactorial disease with
increasing frequency in many countries that can be characterized as an epidemic of major public
health concern. Recognized since 1985 as a chronic disease, obesity is the second leading cause of
preventable death, exceeded only by cigarette smoking. Obesity has been established as a major risk
factor for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some cancers in both men and women.
The general goals of obesity treatment are to reduce body weight, to maintain a lower body weight
over the long term or to prevent further weight gain. Traditional methods to promote weight loss
focus on reducing energy intake through low-calorie or low-fat diets, increasing energy expenditure
by increase in physical activity, and behavioral modification. Numerous other weight loss
interventions are available including pharmacotherapy, surgery to reduce food consumption and
alternative therapies. Although the pharmacological treatment of obesity should not be the first
therapeutic option, its use is now fully approved. Rimonabant is a selective cannabinoid-1 receptor
antagonist that has been suggested to reduce hunger and consumption by affecting the
endocannabinoid system. Rimonabant has entered the market in some countries as a promising new
drug for obesity. However, although effective as an anti-obesity drug, rimonabant also causes
serious adverse side-effects, thus is being doubted and denied for medical usage. This chapter
focuses on the role of rimonabant as anti-obesity drug, elucidating the mechanisms of action, the
main results of clinical trials, FDA and EMEA recommendations, and the future perspectives.
Obesity, endocannabinoid system, rimonabant.
Departamento de Nutricao Social, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rua S Francisco Xavier, 524 – Maracana, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20550-900, Brazil.