Merck ends obesity drug study

October 2, 2008 7:35:42 AM PDT
Merck & Co. said Thursday it will end a late-stage development program on its potential obesity drug taranabant and abandon plans to apply for approval, citing side effects associated with high doses. In March, the company said it wouldn't include higher doses of taranabant in future studies because they had been linked to increased rates of nausea and psychiatric side effects. Also, Merck said the higher doses were no more effective than the lower dose.

Merck has now said that both effectiveness and or side effects were tied to the dose, with both greater effectiveness and more side effects in higher doses.

"Therefore, after careful consideration, we determined that the overall profile of taranabant does not support further development for obesity," said Dr. John Amatruda, senior vice president and research head of diabetes and obesity.