A Prescription Diet Pill May Soon Be Over The Counter - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/24/06-Tyler

A Prescription Diet Pill May Soon Be Over The Counter

A diet pill currently only available with a doctor's signature may soon be available over the counter. The prescription drug Xenical is used to block fat, which helps you lose weight. We spoke with a local doctor and pharmacist who says the side effects outweigh the benefits.

"There hasn't been a large demand for it simple because of the side affects," says Mark Sullivan, Pharmacist with Good's Pharmacy. Sullivan says he has only had 10 prescriptions for the drug Xenical, in the last year.

If the FDA approves a less potent version of the drug Xenical, it will be the first over the counter drug proven to significantly block fat absorption.

Dr. David Shafer with UT Health Center says he does not prescribe the drug to patients anymore. "When patients understand the side effects they become less enthused about the drug," says Shafer.

The drug does not allow the body to absorb any fat. Dr. Schafer says you can lose between 5 to 10 pounds over 6 months, if you combine the drug with with diet and exercise.

But if you don't cut back on your fat intake there are side effects. "This can create a lot of abdominal discomfort and oil diarrhea being the worst side affect for people," says Sullivan. According to Sullivan, those side effects are why he doesn't see too many customers getting a refill.

The drug's manufacturer says people should only take the drug for 6 months at a time. Alli will cost consumers between 12 to 25 dollars a week. Doctor Shafer says only those who are 30 percent over their ideal body weight should even consider taking Alli the new form of Xenical.

Karolyn Davis, reporting. kdavis@kltv.com

 

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