Don’t Get Thin — Get Healthy!

Site Navigation

Fat Blocking Drugs Have Been Dangerous

Many doctors and their patients still think that eating fat is the major cause of obesity. Orlistat has been prescribed for years as Xenocol and is now available over the counter as Alli. The watchdog organization Public Citizen is again urging the FDA to take it off the market because of dangerous side-effects. These are in addition to the inconvenience of having poor control of the fatty stools that result when the drug blocks the absorption of about a fourth of dietary fat.

A year-long study showed that people taking orlistat in addition to a healthy diet and exercise only lost 2 to 5.6 pounds more than the control patients who just used diet and exercise. This means the drugs are not very effective or that dietary fat doesn’t hinder weight loss anyway.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group mentions an animal study that showed that orlistat caused pre-cancerous lesions in the colon. Then in 2010 foreign reports showed severe liver damage in many patients. By then in the U.S. 47 users had pancreatitis, of whom 39 had to be hospitalized and one died. Others had kidney stones and one patent died of kidney failure. Even if these cases are rare, there is no reason to put your life at risk with a drug that isn’t very effective.

Effective diets cut out sugars and simple carbohydrates and keep moderate amounts of fat and protein. Any diet must be accompanied by exercise.