Skinny Daily Post


The FDA has just approved alli, a generic version of GSK’s fat-blocking drug orlistat. It’s a half-dose version of the prescription known as Xenical. The company is adding statements about needing to eat a low-fat diet and take multivitamins, and they’re planning to offer a variety of online tools as well.

Anyone out there interested in trying it? There are digestive side effects, and it’s reported to increase weight loss by an additional 10%.

To tell the truth, it’s not something I’m all that interested in, but, as with everything to do with weight control, we have to figure out what’s right for ourselves.

In this world of weight loss surgery, foods and food-like substances that are purported to help us lose weight, various herbal preparations, endless advice, campaigns from many government and non-government agencies, internet and live support groups, weight loss contests, weight loss clubs and companies, television shows, podcasts, etc., medication is one more tool.

It would be irresponsible [and perhaps even hypocritical!] of me to say that alli isn’t a good idea for some people. Perhaps, as with everything, with responsible use, it’ll help some of us. Eating sensibly and exercising remain essential in order for this pill to work. It’s not magic, just like weight loss surgery isn’t magic.

From my perspective, there’s hope. While on the surface, obesity is a matter of excess calories in and too few calories burned, but there are many factors that affect a person’s ability to burn calories, and even more factors that affect a person’s food intake. Medical science is starting to realize this, and is finally getting away from obesity being a character flaw or personality defect.

It’s not a simple process, and there are many paths to success. And for that reason, we gotta keep trying. If something doesn’t work for you after giving it an honest shot, try a different strategy.

7 thoughts on “Fat-blocking drug now approved for over the counter

  1. KatieA says:


    Just found your blog, and have been having fun reading it back through the archives! 🙂

    Just wanted to post though, to say that here in Australia, Xenical has been available over the counter for about a year. (You still have to speak to the pharmacist to get it though, you can’t just pick a pack of the shelf and take it to the 15-year-old serving at the counter.)

    But I used Xenical when it was first released, and prescription only. My GP made me see an endocronologist for a series of tests before the specialist would even think about prescribing it.

    I had success on it, but only because of the fact that I DID use diet and exercise in conjunction with the tablets. The endo said that out of all the clients he’d given it to, I was the ONLY ONE that actually lost something on it. Apparently his other clients just used it as a “get out of diet free” card – and ate whatever they wanted, thinking that it just blocked out all the fat (despite being told otherwise).

    The side effects are terrible if you DON’T follow the lower fat eating plan too. I will always remember seeing a woman get up from a meeting and having a huge, bright orange stain on the back of her dress, from where the “leakage” (as it’s so nicely referred to on the box) occurred.

    I’ve always worried about this being available over the counter – not so much that anyone could get it (I mean, no intelligent pharmacist is going to give it to someone who is thin enough), but more that people aren’t aware of everything that goes with it – the side effects, the need to change the lifestyle, etc.

  2. Deirdre says:

    I don’t think I’d take a pill that might require wearing a diaper (to catch the anal seepage)for a meager ten percent extra weight loss. I might feel differently if I had a lot of weight to lose.

  3. Cathy says:

    Q: Anyone out there interested in trying it?
    Answer from me: NO thank you!

  4. Sue says:

    I may try it. I generally eat low-fat, and this would definitely be an incentive not to overindulge. I probably would try it out sometime when I know I’ll be home, near the bathroom, for a few days. Maybe even start at half the over-the-counter dosage just to see if I tolerate it well.

    I don’t expect miracles, but as much further as I have to go (another 75 lb) the little bit extra would help.

  5. cindy says:

    One of several reasons I started this weight loss thing in the first place is because I couldn’t bear to be dependent on a pill. My doctor had threatened to put me on medication for my high blood pressure—that was the last straw. I started picturing my life in the coming years, adding medication after medication for all the things that could (and probably would) go wrong as I aged, eating and living the way I did.
    Now, I was born stubborn. And when I get an idea in my head, I can be relentless. That’s what happened. I decided that I wasn’t going to do it…and that was that! It has been an incredible struggle, but I’ve been managing for nearly a year and a half. For once, being stubborn is working for me, not against me. My doctor never mentions blood pressure medication any more. And if I play my cards right, hopefully I’ll avoid a few other pills in my future, as well.
    So, no…I will not be trying any diet pill, side effects or not. But this is just me. Everyone must find their own road. Stubborn is a good place to start.

  6. Susan says:

    I lost 70 pounds with Xenical, together with a balanced, low-fat diet. I could only get the last 20 pounds off with diet and exercise. The unpleasant “side effects” generally last for only the first 4-6 weeks (only 4 weeks for me)>

    I have no idea where the idea that Xenical only increases weight loss by 10% came from. I lost 15 pounds in the first month and continued to lose steadily for about 18 months.

    Knowing what I know now about diet and exercise, I’m pretty sure I could take the weight off without the crutch of Xenical, but it was a godsend for me at the time. Looking back, if I hadn’t had Xenical, I would probably have given up at the first sign of a stall.

    I would recommend it for people with a lot of weight to lose. You’ll only have an “accident” if you overeat fat.

  7. Karen says:

    I have used it too, but only when I have had a beef or high fat meal like pizza. It seeme to help me be accountable because knowing I had paid for the pill kept me from over doing it. I didn’t have any trouble with side effects. If anything it seemed to help me be more regular

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