A new weight loss drug is under study and the early results are promising. The drug is called Taranabant and is made by Merck.
So far, studies show that it helped obese patients lose weight and burn calories while resting. The 12-week study looked at more than 500 obese patients who took different doses of the drug. All doses spurred some weight loss but those taking the highest dose dropped the most pounds.
However, the highest dose group also suffered the most side effects, mainly nausea and vomiting. The drug works by blocking cannanbinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for the psychological effects of marijuana, so many of the opposite reactions happen in patients on the drug. Rather than feeling hungry and relaxed, they are full or nauseous and irritable.
Taranabant is in phase-2 of its study. So, it could still be many years before the drug is available. The phase-3 program is still under way. Researchers expect to present the results of phase-3 later this year and to provide a better understanding of the safety profile.