The company said the phase 2 trial of the oral nalmefene hydrochloride drug -- an opiate antagonist -- showed that those patients taking nalmefene in a 40-mg dose experienced higher abstinence rates "at all timepoints relative to placebo."
However, patients receiving nalmefene at 80 mg in the study "did not consistently achieve abstinence rates that were numerically superior to placebo."
The 76-patient, single-center trial was not designed to show statistical significance, but rather was "exploratory in nature," Somaxon Chief Medical Officer Phil Jochelson said in a statement. "We are intrigued with the observation that the nalmefene 40 mg treated patients maintained higher abstinence rates relative to placebo."
Nalmefene was generally well tolerated in the study, with the most common adverse events being insomnia and nausea.