Goal to reduce disease in blood vessels
Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center today announced that they have launched a study to determine whether an experimental drug, rimonabant, can slow atherosclerosis, the fatty build-up in arteries that creates heart attack risk. In recent studies, rimonabant has been shown to decrease body weight, improve abnormal levels of blood sugars and fats (cholesterol) and to help willing patients quit smoking. Now researchers hope to add coronary artery disease (CAD), atherosclerosis within the arteries of the heart, to the list of maladies addressed. A decision on whether rimonabant is safe and effective and if so, for which uses, is expected from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006.
Unlike previous cholesterol drugs that treat some aspect of blood or blood vessel walls, rimonabant is a cannabinoid receptor antagonist, which exerts its effect in parts of the brain that control appetite and addictive behaviors. Results of previous studies show that rimonabant reduces triglycerides and increases HDL-C, or "good" cholesterol, independent of weight loss. The new study, titled STADIVARIUS (Strategy to Reduce Atherosclerosis Development Involving Administration of Rimonabant- The Intravascular Ultrasound Study), will explore whether these effects will impact the progression of atherosclerosis.
Greg Williams | EurekAlert!
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