Time Magazine has an article about new diet pills that are hitting the market, and one of the pills caught my eye:
Approved by the European Drug Agency in June 2006 and sold under the name Acomplia, rimonabant takes a different weight-loss route than Meridia, which revs up metabolism and creates a feeling of fullness, and Alli, which reduces fat absorption from food. Rimonabant is the first of a new class of drugs designed to keep the user from getting the munchies. That's right: knowing that marijuana and other forms of cannabis stimulate the appetite, scientists wondered what might happen if they blocked the brain's cannabinoid receptors. Early studies suggested the anticannabinoid crew was on to something. Not only did the desire for food seem to diminish with rimonabant but other cravings, like nicotine, were easier to control.
But it turns out there's a downside to blocking parts of the brain that are responsible for pleasure, relaxation and pain tolerance. A study published last month in the Lancet looked at more than 4,000 patients who had been given either 20 mg of rimonabant or a placebo (sugar pill) in double-blinded trials--meaning the participants didn't know which of the two pills they were getting and neither did their doctors. The results were downright depressing. Literally. Patients receiving rimonabant were 2.5 times as likely as placebo recipients to discontinue treatment because of depressive disorders. They were also three times as likely to stop taking the drug because of anxiety. The FDA panel nixed rimonabant's application for approval due to concerns that the drug increases the risk of suicidal thoughts.
Link to full story: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1689206,00.html