Monday, June 18, 2007

Over-the-counter diet pill goes on sale in U.S.

I remember when Xenical, the prescription version of orlistat, was introduced in Canada. It was heavily hyped, but because of price, lack of noticeable benefits and bad side effects it mostly faded out of view. I suspect the OTC version will face the same fate. A few people will benefit from this treatment and lose some weight. However, the majority of patients will try it, and then realize that you really do have to cut your fat intake or else you get nasty bowel-related side effects. As soon as they realize it's not a magic pill or when they soil their pants, they'll stop using it. I doubt we'll see it in Canada anytime soon.

From CTV News:
Canadian health officials watched closely on Friday as Alli, the first over-the-counter diet pill approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, went on sale south of the border.

The drug, which reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the body after a meal by roughly 25 per cent, is available in Canada under a different name, but still requires a prescription.

"It's been around for quite a long time," Yoni Freedhoff of the Bariatric Medical Institute, an Ottawa-based weight loss centre, told CTV News.

"Studies show that people taking it for two years lose up to eight kilograms. But the way it works, of course, is by either delaying or blocking the absorption of fat in the gut. And the way it blocks it is, well, it comes out -- 'fast' is a good objective to use." ...more

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