Rimonabant: more than an anti-obesity drug?

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Abstract

The endocannabinoid system modulates many pathophysiological functions, including the brain pathways involved in the regulation of body weight and adipose tissue function. The selective cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist, rimonabant, has undergone phase III clinical testing as anti-obesity drug. Obesity is considered a mild inflammatory condition and predisposes individuals to an increased risk of developing many diseases. It has been recently suggested that a successful intervention to treat obesity is a therapy combining weight-reducing drugs with anti-inflammatory ones. In this scenario, rimonabant's anti-obesity action is accompanied by favorable changes in markers for insulin resistance, C-reactive protein, adiponectin, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). The results reported by Croci and Zarini in this issue highlight the anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesic effect of rimonabant in obese animals, so suggesting that it could provide a more general and aggressive strategy to protect obese patients from many pathological risks.

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