COMBINATION WEIGHT LOSS AND DIABETES DRUG, NOW IN LATE-STAGE TESTING, SHOWS PROMISE

Two of the biggest health problems in American today are diabetes and obesity. In fact, millions of people are afflicted with both diseases and are required to take different medications for each of them. The combination of the two diseases is now referred to in the pharmaceutical industry as "diabesity."

A new drug from Sanofi-Aventis is designed to treat both diabetes and obesity at the same time. In fact, the drug known as Acomplia, has even shown promise as an effective medication for smokers trying to quit the habit. The main side-effects are nausea and vomiting which appear to subside after a few weeks on the medication.

Accomplia acts by blocking hunger-inducing receptors in the brain and by increasing cytokine (a protein often lacking I obese people) in fat tissue. A lack of cytokine interferes with insulin levels thereby increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes which usually occurs as overweight adults age. The drug appears to operate in the same way to reduce the craving for cigarettes.

The drug has the potential to be a blockbuster for Sanofi-Aventis with some experts projecting annual sales at over $5 billion (U.S.). The drug is currently in late-stage (final) testing. A New Drug Application has already been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. One analyst puts the chance of approval at 80%.

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