Anti-gambling pill fails test - Wednesday 13th of December 2006

A San Diego pharmaceutical firm said clinical trials were a flop for an orally administered drug aimed at blunting addicts’ urge to gamble.

“The results … are disappointing,? Ken Cohen, president and chief executive of publicly traded Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc., said in a prepared statement.

Somaxon two years ago was the first U.S. firm to take formal steps toward marketing an anti-gambling pill. It obtained North American licensing rights to a Finnish firm’s treatment for impulse-control disorders using the drug nalmefene hydrochloride.

Researchers for years have been trying to unlock the root causes of addictive behavior.

In its statement Wednesday, Somaxon said tests on human subjects at various dosages “did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference compared to placebo? treatment. The company also reported adverse side effects, including insomnia, nausea and dizziness.

The company said it will “evaluate the results from these trials before making determinations regarding the future of the nalmefene program.?

An intravenous version of the chemical compound is permitted for use in the United States to counteract morphine and other opiate drug overdoses.

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