A Prescription Diet Pill Goes Over-The-Counter

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A Prescription Diet Pill Goes Over-The-Counter featured image

By swimsuit season, drugstore shelves will hold a first: an FDA-approved over-the-counter diet pill. On Wednesday, it was announced that a half-strength version of the prescription drug Xenical will be made available to all (though it’s intended for use by those 18 and older).

GlaxoSmithKline calls the new pill alli (pronounced like “ally”). Like widely advertised diet potions that aren’t FDA approved, alli (also known as OTC Orlistat) won’t be as effective if the user is sedentary and makes poor nutritional choices. The FDA observed that, in trials, for every five pounds a person lost through diet and exercise, those who used alli lost an additional two or three pounds.

The pill works by blocking some consumed fat from being absorbed. About half of the trial patients experienced diarrhea as a result of this process.

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