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Valeant Cannabinoid Gets OK

It's a pill for chemo-induced nausea.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals


received Food and Drug Administration approval for Cesamet, an oral treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

The capsule, which consists of a synthetic cannabinoid drug related to the active ingredient in marijuana, is intended to treat patients who have not responded to traditional medications.

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"There is a need for cannabinoids, such as Cesamet, for patients who have exhausted conventional treatments but are still coping with the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy," said Dr. Neal Slatkin, director of the department of supportive care, pain and palliative medicine at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif.

Cesamet, which works differently than other anti-nausea drugs, has a longer duration of action, the company says, which allows for less frequent dosing compared to other drugs. Cesamet would typically be taken twice a day.

Valeant acquired Cesamet from pharmaceuticals giant

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

in 2004.

Last year, Valeant entered an agreement with

Par Pharmaceutical's


for Cesamet promotion in the United States. Valeant expects to launch the drug within the next several weeks.

Valeant shares were up 17 cents, or 1%, to $17.07, while shares of its marketing partner Par were up 76 cents, or 3.4%, to $23.15 Tuesday.