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Potential role of the endocannabinoid receptor antagonist rimonabant in the management of cardiometabolic risk: a narrative review of available data

Authors Kirk A Bronander, Michael J Bloch

Published 15 May 2007 Volume 2007:3(2) Pages 181—190

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Kirk A Bronander1, Michael J Bloch2

1Division of General Internal Medicine, 2Divisions of Cardiology and General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV, USA

Abstract: The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an endogenous physiological system composed of two cannabinoid receptors and several endogenous ligands. The ECS is intimately involved in appetite regulation and energy homeostasis, which makes it an intriguing target for pharmacological treatment of obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. Rimonabant is the first cannabinoid receptor (CB-1) antagonist being studied and utilized to treat obesity (it is approved in Europe but is currently under review in the United States). Large randomized trials with rimonabant have demonstrated efficacy in treatment of overweight and obese individuals with weight loss significantly greater than a reduced calorie diet alone. In addition, multiple other cardiometabolic parameters were improved in the treatment groups including increased levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol, reduced triglycerides, reduced waist circumference, improved insulin sensitivity, decreased insulin levels, and in diabetic patients improvement in glycosylated hemoglobin percentage. There was an increase in the adverse effects of depression, anxiety, irritability, and nausea in rimonabant-treated groups. This novel medication may become an important therapeutic option in the fight to reduce cardiovascular disease worldwide through its unique action on cardiometabolic risk.

Keywords: rimonabant, endocannabinoid, metabolic syndrome, obesity

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