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NICE approves new anti-obesity drug

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NICE has issued final guidance approving the use of a new anti-obesity drug on the NHS.

A health technology appraisal, published this week, recommends that rimonabant (Acomplia) should only be used as an addition to diet and exercise for adults who have had an inadequate response to, or who are intolerant of the existing anti-obesity drugs orlistat and sibutramine.

If a patient does not lose at least 5% of their initial body weight in the first six months of taking the drug, treatment should be discontinued, the institute said.

Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, welcomed the ruling. ‘Today’s new guidance from NICE is of real benefit to clinicians trying to manage this growing group of patients,’ he said. ‘We look forward to NHS trusts providing the funding within three months to implement this guidance, as they are obliged to do, so this treatment option can be made available for all patients who could benefit from it.’

NICE also issued recommendations on the use of cetuximab (Erbitux) for head and neck cancer, and adalimumab (Humira) for psoriasis. Click here for more information.

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