NICE U-turns over obesity drug

NICE has recommended the use of rimonabant for the treatment of obese and overweight adults in England and Wales.

The final appraisal from NICE recommends the use of the drug as an adjunct to diet and exercise for individuals who have had an inadequate response to, are intolerant of, or are contraindicated to other anti-obesity medications.

The final guidance reverses the decision made by NICE in its draft technology appraisal, issued last December, that called for more information on how the drug compares with diet and exercise, orlistat and sibutramine to be made available before rimonabant could be recommended for use.

Obesity in England has more than trebled in the last two decades and the total socioeconomic cost of managing obesity and the conditions that it causes is estimated to be up to £7.4 billion per year.

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