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Lingering Loss: In 2-year diet trial, new pill keeps off weight

An experimental diet drug looks like a long-distance success. New data indicate that obese adults who lose weight during a year of taking rimonabant and dieting keep the weight off during the following year, if they continue the regimen.

The drug, which Paris-based manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis calls Acomplia, blocks cells' receptors for chemicals called cannabinoids, which include substances in marijuana. Some cravings for food and addictive substances depend on those receptors.

Yearlong trials of rimonabant had suggested that the drug aids initial weight loss. But the real test of an obesity treatment is whether weight shed in one year stays away the next.

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