Effects of 7 days of treatment with the cannabinoid type 1 receptor antagonist, rimonabant, on emotional processing.
Horder J., Browning M., Di Simplicio M., Cowen PJ., Harmer CJ.
Rimonabant is a cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) antagonist formerly used to treat obesity, but which was withdrawn from the market in late 2008 because of its association with psychiatric adverse effects such as depression and anxiety. Previously, we showed that a single dose of rimonabant produced a negative bias on an emotional word memory task, in the absence of subjective mood effects. The present study investigated whether a similar effect on emotional processing could be seen after 7 days' daily treatment with rimonabant 20 mg, using a randomized, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design in healthy volunteers (final n = 21). In comparison with placebo, rimonabant induced a negative bias on a memory recognition task without producing a change in subjective mood. This raises the possibility that the depressogenic effects of rimonabant may be linked to emotional memory biases, and that such biases may be detectable in the absence of subjective mood changes. Investigating such effects could be useful in detecting adverse psychiatric effects of novel treatments.