Booster Shots

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RIP, Acomplia

November 5, 2008 |  5:25 pm

Sanofi-Aventis announced today that it has suspended research into its anti-obesity drug Acomplia (rimonabant), which has been available in Europe but is not yet approved for use in the U.S. So it's never coming here.

The drug, which blocks cannabinoid receptors in the brain, suppresses appetite, an action opposite the appetite-stimulation experienced when people smoke marijuana. The reason for the drug's suspension was its psychiatric side effects.

Pfizer also announced today that it was suspending research on an experimental drug that also acts on cannabinoid receptors. And last month Merck announced it was ceasing research on another anti-cannabinoid drug, taranabant.

Here is an Associated Press story on the Acomplia news.

And here's an earlier blog item we wrote on Acomplia.

That anti-munchie idea seemed to make such alluring sense: If stimulating a receptor makes a person  hungry, then blocking it will supress someone's appetite. But the problem is that CB1 receptors are clearly involved in much more than just appetite.

-- Rosie Mestel