An experimental wonder drug, Rimonabant, helps you lose weight, quit smoking and it also helps protect your heart. Trials have shown that 33% of people on Rimonabant lost 10% of body weight and kept their weight down for two years - this is a record, no other diet drug has managed to keep a person's weight down for so long.
The second 33% lost 5% of body weight and kept it down.
As well as keeping you lean, the drug also helps you quit the smoking habit. This will be of great interest for many smokers who are afraid to give up because they say they will put on loads of weight if they do (young female smokers worry about this the most).
The findings of this trial were presented at the American Heart Association conference, New Orleans, USA.
Study leader, Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, said "People were able to quit and stay off cigarettes significantly better on rimonabant and also not gain all that weight that generally happens when you quit smoking."
Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer works at St Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, New York.
There are nerve receptors that exist in the brain and fat cells. These receptors tell the body to overeat (and intake nicotine). Rimonabant blocks the signals these receptors give out - it stops them from telling us to overeat. Overeaters and addicted smokers have very active receptors of this kind.
By blocking the signals, the overeater or nicotine addict does not have the same urge to eat or smoke. There is no other drug like it - one that helps you stop smoking and overeating.
The present study looked mainly at the drug's effect on body weight over a period of two years. Other studies will look more closely at Rimonabant's effectiveness at helping people quit smoking. Smaller studies have indicated the drug is very good at helping addicted smokers kick the habit.