January 23, 2006
A prescription diet drug is a step closer to being stocked next to the cold medicine in drug stores and supermarkets. Federal health advisers voted to recommend the FDA approve a new fat busting drug.
It has been described as a "magic pill" that blocks the body from absorbing a quarter of the fat that consumers eat.
"There may be some that may lose 20 pounds or more," said Dr. Sethu Reddy, of Cleveland Clinic.
The weight loss pill Xenical combined with diet and exercise helped obese people in a six month clinical trial lose an average of six pounds.
"There are no miracle pills," said Dr. Diane Wakat.
Dr. Wakat of the Nutrition Clinic said while it may work on some people, the weight loss comes at price. "It prevents fat absorption, that means that any fat soluble vitamins will also not be absorbed," said Dr. Wakat.
Which can cause diarrhea, especially if consumers don't follow a proper diet. Dr. Wakat said for most people who struggle with their weight, eating too much fat isn't the issue.
"It's the fact that they are carb addicts and it's not going to have any effect on a carbohydrate calorie, at all, none, zero," said Dr. Wakat.
If the FDA approves the first over-the-counter weight loss pill, its maker said it would be re-named Alli. It would contain only half the dose of a prescription capsule which might lessen the side effects and hopefully prevent people from easily abusing this drug.
Currently, consumers can get the drug only through a prescription but if the FDA approves it, it will be the first weight-loss pill available over the counter.