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    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Diet Pills: Xenical, the prescription weight-loss drug, is set to go over the counter:

    Millions of overweight Americans may soon get more help in their fight to shed unwanted pounds.

    A pill that helps block fat absorption in the body moved closer to becoming the nation's first federally approved over-the-counter diet pill on Monday.

    A panel of government health advisers recommended in an 11-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration allow the pill's maker to sell it without the need of a doctor's prescription.

    The drug, known as orlistat, is already sold in prescription form as Xenical. If non-prescription sale is approved, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC would sell the drug over the counter under the name Alli (pronounced AL-eye) for about 60 cents a pill, less than half the price of current prescription medications.

    Orlistat acts by blocking fat resporption. It doesn't block caloric intake, but what it essentially does is create a malabsorption situation within the gut. Fat doesn't get taken up, which means it just moves on through the intestines and out, causing diarrhea in the process. It also makes it difficult for the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients.

    When orlistate first came out as Xenical it was very popular. That popularity was short-lived, however, as people found the side effects too much of a bother. And it only results in an average weight loss of 13 pounds.

    So, will going over the counter improve its sales? Probably. It'll be much easier to give it a try without having to see a doctor first. But long term success for it and with it is doubtful.

    posted by Sydney on 1/25/2006 07:44:00 AM 3 comments


    I agree with you. I tried it on my patients and on myself. Except for having to change the underwear twice a day, I did not see any difference.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:11 AM  

    The most telling remark was by the company's PR person who said he say this in every home just like any other OTC medication. This is about sales, not serving a need.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:47 PM  

    13 pounds are not much for an obese person but it may be just what a number of moderately (or even slightly) overweight young women want to loose to look good in a swimming suit by summer. There probably a big number of those, especially among teenagers.

    There also may be a potential market among anorexic girls.

    I wonder what percentage of potential customers would belong to two categories above.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:00 PM  

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