Merck abandons fat-fighting pill

October 2, 2008 7:25:37 AM PDT
Whitehouse Station-based Merck is ending a late-stage development program on its potential obesity drug taranabant.

Merck says it will 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. Merck also said the higher doses were no more effective than lower doses.

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