Rimonabant was an experimental drug that was released primarily to help patients lose weight. This drug was also found helpful in subjects trying to quit smoking and was a very promising drug when it was initially released. Apart from assisting in weight loss and helping smoking cessation, rimonabant also had many other uses. The consumption of this drug was found to help reduce cocaine-seeking behavior and, therefore, helped some people addicted to certain types of drugs reduce their cravings for them. However, despite the promising usefulness of the drug, rimonabant has certain side effects, the discovery of which later led many doctor to stop prescribing rimonabant as a medicine to patients, because many of them felt that the drug’s side effects outweighed its benefits in many cases.
Although rimonabant does help patients in losing their weights, a study that was done using patients who were using the drug revealed that many of these patients dependent on rimonabant for very long terms (about a year) started becoming more and more affected by the side effects that were associated with the use of rimonabant. The side effects, which these patients experienced during the course of their use of this drug included depression, nausea and anxiety. About one out of every eight patients who were used for this study backed out of it because of the side effects they experienced due to rimonabant.
Almost all drugs have certain side effects. Side effects associated with a drug may not always affect everyone using the drug. Likewise, the drug rimonabant has been discovered to have certain side effects that mostly affected people who have been using it for a very long time. Not all people who have taken rimonabant, however, have experienced these side effects. The side effects that have been linked with the use of rimonabant are of two types – physical and psychiatric.
Among the many psychiatric side effects that have been associated with using rimonabant till date, the most reported ones are feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies, nausea, anxiety and nervousness. Some people using rimonabant reported having had frequent unpredictable mood swings, tendency to become irritated at most things and difficulty in sleeping otherwise called insomnia. Although rare, some patients also say they have experienced various types of sleep related disorders like night sweats and sleep walking. Many have experienced dizziness and fatigue, while others have felt a decreased sense of sensation, for example, to touch or even to pain.
Another side effect associated with the long-term consumption of rimonabant is short-term loss of memory. Many patients also report having sweats all the time among other discomforts including backache, vomiting tendencies and vomiting, and diarrhea. The regular and long-term use of rimonabant can also cause some patients to have muscle spasms and a sense of feeling restless all the time, unwell and/or agitate. Sometimes, it also causes certain areas of the skin to itch continuously and cause conditions like tendon inflammation, which is otherwise called tendonitis. A very rare side effect that has been reported by a very few number of people is having visual and/or auditory hallucinations.
Medical experts say that in order to understand the side effects caused by rimonabant, one must first understand how the drug operates in the human body to achieve the aim of weight loss. Rimonabant works inside the human body by first blocking one of the receptors inside the brain. By blocking the cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptor of the human brain, it reduces appetite significantly helping users of this drug to lose weight. However, extensive research on rimonabant has revealed that the drug also blocks another receptor of the brain other than the CB1, resulting in the negative psychiatric effects on some occasions in some people. Besides the side effects, there are also ceratin other risks involved with the use of rimonabant. Due to the interactive nature of the drug, this drug can cause negative impacts if taken with other drugs. Because of the many side effects associated with the long-term use of rimonabant, this drug must, therefore, always be taken only after consultation with a certified doctor.
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