Background: Rimonabant, a selective cannabinoid type 1 receptor blocker, reduces bodyweight and improves cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in non-diabetic overweight or obese patients. The aim of the RIO-Diabetes trial was to assess the efficacy and safety of rimonabant in overweight or obese patients with type 2 diabetes that was inadequately controlled by metformin or sulphonylureas.
Methods: 1047 overweight or obese type 2 diabetes patients (body-mass index 27-40 kg/m2) with a haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) concentration of 6.5-10.0% (mean 7.3% [SD 0.9] at baseline) already on metformin or sulphonylurea monotherapy were given a mild hypocaloric diet and advice for increased physical activity, and randomly assigned placebo (n=348), 5 mg/day rimonabant (360) or 20 mg/day rimonabant (339) for 1 year. Two individuals in the 5 mg/day group did not receive double-blind treatment and were thus not included in the final analysis. The primary endpoint was weight change from baseline after 1 year of treatment. Analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00029848.
Findings: 692 patients completed the 1 year follow-up; numbers in each group after 1 year were much the same. Weight loss was significantly greater after 1 year in both rimonabant groups than in the placebo group (placebo: -1.4 kg [SD 3.6]; 5 mg/day: -2.3 kg [4.2], p=0.01 vs placebo; 20 mg/day: -5.3 kg [5.2], p<0.0001 vs placebo). Rimonabant was generally well tolerated. The incidence of adverse events that led to discontinuation was slightly greater in the 20 mg/day rimonabant group, mainly due to depressed mood disorders, nausea, and dizziness.
Interpretation: These data indicate that 20 mg/day rimonabant, in combination with diet and exercise, can produce a clinically meaningful reduction in bodyweight and improve HbA1c and a number of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in overweight or obese patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled by metformin or sulphonylureas.