Anti-Obesity Drug Might Also Lower Cholesterol

Early study in rats suggests rimonabant works though the liver

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WEDNESDAY, July 11, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- A study in rats suggests that the anti-obesity drug rimonabant may also reduce liver damage and improve cholesterol levels.

Rimonabant is available in Europe under the brand name Acomplia but is not approved for use in the United States.

French researchers at Sanofi-Aventis, the drug company that makes the drug, gave rimonabant to obese male rats every day for eight weeks.

At the end of the treatment, the researchers observed a reduction in the rodents' liver enlargement, level of fat in the liver and markers in the blood indicating liver damage. There was also a reduction of an inflammation-related protein thought to cause insulin resistance in the liver as well as cirrhosis.

Writing in the July issue of Hepatology, the researchers also noted healthier cholesterol and triglyceride levels after treatment. They attributed the improvement to the improved health of the liver.

According data from the American College of Gastroenterology, two out of three obese adults also have what's known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, an accumulation of fat in the liver. At its most severe, this condition can lead to liver inflammation, tissue scarring and cirrhosis.

More information

To learn about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, visit the American College of Gastroenterology.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons, news release, July 2, 2007

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