Just in time for the New Year's resolution. A randomised, double blind trial suggests that the drug, sibutramine, previously known for inducing dose-dependent weight loss and enhancing the effects of a low-calorie diets, is effective in sustaining weight loss (Lancet 2000; 356: 2119-25).

The international team of researchers, lead by Professor W Philip T James from Aberdeen, UK, studied 605 obese patients recruited from eight European centres. The patients were enrolled in a 6-month period of weight loss treatment with sibutramine (10 mg/day) and an individualised dietary programme; 467 (77%) achieved more than 5% weight loss and were eligible for the second phase of the trial where they were randomly assigned either 10 mg/day of sibutramine (352 patients) or placebo (115 patients) for a further 18 months. Of the 204 sibutramine-treated patients who completed the trial, 89 (43%) maintained 80% or more of their original weight loss, compared with...

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