The first and only over-the-counter product for weight loss approved by the FDA will be available from tomorrow. Orlistat (marketed as Alli) works by decreasing the amount of fat absorbed by the body. It is a lite version Xenical, the prescription weight loss pill that has been available since 1999.
The drug was tested last fall on mildly to moderately overweight - rather than obese - individuals. The study participants took either orlistat or a placebo three times daily with meals for 16 weeks. Results of that study showed that those taking orlistat did lose more weight than those taking the placebo.
"Our research showed that people taking orlistat and following low-fat diets lost almost five percent of their initial body weight, about 7 to 15 pounds, over four months," said researcher James Anderson. "While two to four pounds a month isn't dramatic, steady weight loss of this amount can have major health benefits." While taking Alli may help you lose weight, it won't do all of the work for you. Anderson stresses a healthy diet and exercise plan are absolutely necessary to lose the weight and keep it off.
"This is the first over-the-counter medicine that has proven effectiveness. It is my hope that people will take one capsule before each regular meal, breakfast, lunch, and supper, and alter their fat and calorie intake. If they commit to exercise six days a week, most people can lose weight steadily. All of us are in this for the long haul and need to keep up healthy behaviors, not for days or weeks, but for months and years," Anderson concluded.
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Source: University of Kentucky