Zurich, Switzerland - Rimonbant's rough ride may be nearly over: today, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) announced that it has recommended suspension of the weight-loss drug, marketed as Acomplia in Europe . According to an EMEA committee, the benefits of the drug "no longer outweigh its risks." Its manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, has responded, agreeing to what it is calling a "temporary suspension" of the drug . As previously reported by heartwire, the drug has known neurological and psychiatric side effects, including depression and "suicidal ideation," which are noted in the product labeling in Europe and were enough to persuade an FDA advisory committee in June 2007 that the drug should not be marketed in the US. In Europe, however, the drug has been available since June 2006, although the EMEA reconvened after one year to reassess the safety profile of the drug, ultimately leading to new contraindications for its use. In a press statement, Sanofi-Aventis says that the company "remains committed to Acomplia to bring an important therapeutic approach to obese and overweight patients." More than 700 000 patients have been treated with the drug worldwide, the company notes; the drug has been sold in 18 EU countries over the past two years. The press statement also asserts that Sanofi-Aventis will work to provide the EMEA with "additional evidence for the reevaluation of the benefit/risk profile of Acomplia in patients with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases through the ongoing clinical studies." Recent study results with rimonabant have been mixed, however. Analyses from the ADAGIO-LIPIDS study, presented earlier this year at the 77th European Atherosclerosis Society Congress, pointed to improvements in lipid parameters and reductions in visceral adipose tissue. But STRADIVARIUS, an intravascular ultrasound study presented at the ACC 2008 meeting, showed no benefit of rimonabant in terms of progression of atherosclerosis. Earlier this month, Merck announced that it had halted development of its own cannabinoid-receptor blocker, taranabant, due to its overall safety and efficacy profile.