Alli Diet Pill Approved for Over-the-Counter Sales
UPDATE: Alli is now for sale and can be purchased online at Drugstore.com
Here's good news if you've been fighting the battle of the bulge and are having trouble losing those extra pounds. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved over-the-counter (OTC) sales of the fat-blocking diet pill orlistat for overweight adults.
The over-the-counter version of the prescription drug orlistat (brand name Xenical) will be sold in a lower dosage form under the name alli (pronounced AL-eye and not capitalized). It is the first time that the FDA has allowed the direct sale of a diet drug that previously had only been available by prescription. According to a press release by the manufacturer, alli is expected to be available in stores nationwide by summer 2007.
Orlistat (Xenical) was initially approved by the FDA in 1999 as a prescription drug to treat obesity. GlaxoSmithKline will manufacture the new lower dose alli that will be sold over-the-counter without the need for a prescription from your doctor. It is indicated for use by adults ages 18 years and older, along with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, and exercise program.
Doctor Douglas Throckmorton is Deputy Director for FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Doctor Throckmorton says "We know that being overweight has many adverse consequences, including an increase in the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes." "Over-the-counter alli, along with diet and exercise, may aid overweight adults who seek to lose excess weight to improve their health."
Caroline Apovian, M.D., who is the Director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at Boston Medical Center agrees with Throckmorton. Apovian welcomes the FDA decision and says. "I applaud the alli program for stressing the importance of a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet in conjunction with a weight-loss medicine proven to be safe and effective. Apovian adds, "More and more people each year - now two-thirds of all American adults - are overweight or obese and are still gaining weight." Apovian says "Even modest, gradual weight loss provides significant health benefits."
The experts at the FDA caution that OTC alli diet pills are not for everyone. People who have problems absorbing food or those who are not overweight should not use alli. "Overweight" is defined by the National Institutes of Health as having a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or more. BMI equals a person's weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. (BMI=kg/m2). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an easy calculator on their website to help you determine your BMI.
According to Dr. Throckmorton, the new over-the-counter diet pill alli helps produce weight loss by decreasing the intestinal absorption of fat. Throckmorton says the 60 mg capsule can be taken up to three times a day with meals. However, it is recommended that you take a multivitamin at bedtime if you use alli because of the possible loss of certain nutrients.
The most common side effect of alli is a change in bowel habits, which may include loose stools and an urgent need to use the bathroom. The likelihood of having that side effect can be reduced if you eat a low fat diet. People who have had an organ transplant should not take Alli because of possible drug interactions. Anyone taking a blood thinning medicine, or being treated for diabetes or thyroid disease should consult their doctor before taking alli.