North American Association for the Study Of Obesity (NAASO)

Obesity specialists are excited about Sanofi-Aventis’s Acomplia, and it is likely to boost pharmacotherapy, even among doctors currently doing little or no drug treatment, but there are still unanswered questions about this agent, and it is unlikely to get a label to treat metabolic syndrome, at least initially. ♦ Patients also may be excited about Acomplia at first, but that may be followed with disappointment in the degree of weight loss. ♦ Numerous other anti-obesity drugs are in development but none are on the near horizon. ♦ Bariatric surgery has been increasing exponentially, and the growth is likely to continue, but perhaps not as fast due to payer resistance. Sources predicted use of Inamed’s Lap-Band will double over the next year.

Update on Cholesterol Lowering Medications from XXIII European Society of Cardiology and Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism (DALM)

AstraZeneca’s Crestor (rosuvastatin) was shown to be more effective than Pfizer’s Lipitor (atorvastatin), but safety questions remain. The recent withdrawal of Bayer’s Baycol (cerivastatin) – and the lack of a clear understanding of what caused the problem with cerivastatin -- has made doctors and regulatory authorities nervous about new agents, so the outlook is for a possible delay in approval of Crestor and a slower-than-expected launch. Schering Plough’s cholesterol absorption inhibitor, ezetimibe, may be the big beneficiary of the Baycol withdrawal. The drug was shown to lower cholesterol either as monotherapy or in combination with a statin, with no serious side effects, and it may be more appealing to doctors than a “superstatin.”

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