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UPDATED INFORMATION: The Alli Diet Pill — Pharmaceutical Profits & Propaganda

Posted by Catherine Morgan on July 3, 2007

Alli — “The Diarrhea Diet”

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By Catherine Morgan – cross posted at BlogHer.org

I’m not going to try to sugar coat it, I’m an opinionated person. Back at the end of May when I saw an article about an over the counter diet pill being approved by the FDA, and peddled by a pharmaceutical company, my skepticism antenna went into overdrive.

The result was a post I did the same day on why you should just say no to diet pills, which included several links of other recent drugs the FDA and pharmaceutical companies had claimed to be safe, and later were taken off the market. In my opinion this happens much too often. And the main thing that sets me off is, it seems to be all about money. (Shocking! Not so much.) The FDA takes money from the pharmaceutical companies to “study” and approve their drugs, then the pharmaceutical companies make millions (even billions) off the American people, then voila, the drug that was once “safe” is no longer safe. It’s a very interesting phenomena.

Glaxo’s Avandia Fuels Arguments For Tougher Drug Laws — The study, released May 21, showed that Avandia, the world’s best-selling diabetes pill, increased the risk of a heart attack 43 percent. Members of Congress are questioning the Food and Drug Administration’s handling of evidence of side effects since the drug won U.S. approval in 1999.

The Avandia report has reignited complaints by Congress that the FDA is too lax in monitoring drug complications after a product is on the market. The agency previously was criticized for failing to act on heart dangers linked to Merck & Co.’s Vioxx painkiller before it was withdrawn in 2004, and for missing suicide risks linked to antidepressants. — read full article

Call me crazy, but it is troubling to me that the FDA considers a drug that basically induces diarrhea as a safe and effective means of weight loss. https://i2.wp.com/msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/070522/070522_dietpill_vmed_12p.widec.jpg Sure, you can argue that the drug is blocking fat from being absorbed and a side effect of that is causing diarrhea…but really…semantics. Right? Don’t we consider people that are using drugs to induce diarrhea as suffering from Bulimia, and in need of medical and psychological help? What about this…Lets say that a pharmaceutical company came out with a drug that induced vomiting, does that mean if the person is not sticking their finger down their throat they are not sick, they are just dieting? If that’s the case, maybe someone should consider repackaging Ipecac into pill form, and marketing it as the newest diet plan. Is it really that much of a stretch from where we are now???

Now that you know how I feel about it, lets take a look at some of the facts about the (not so) new diet pill. Then you can tell me how you feel about it.

To quote Wikipedia one of Alli’s side effects is:

“Because orlistat‘s main effect is to prevent dietary fat from being absorbed the fat is excreted unchanged in the feces and so the stool may become oily or loose (steatorrhea). Increased flatulence is also common. Bowel movements may become frequent or urgent, and rare occurrences of fecal incontinence have been seen in clinical trials.” — read full post

For Alli to work without significant side effects, fat intake must be curtailed. Lee recommends no more than 10 grams of fat per meal. Alli instructs users to consume no more than 15 grams.

“If your fat content is higher than that, it can cause problems like flatulence, bloating, cramps and incontinence,” said Lee, noting that in clinical trials for the drug, adult diapers were made available to participants. “It can be very socially and personally disruptive.” — read full article

How badly do you want to be skinny? Is it worth soiling your underwear? — read full article

Let me just interject something here. Limiting your fat intake per meal WILL facilitate weight loss, even without a pill that gives you diarrhea. Eating a healthy diet is the real key to weight loss, and the only chance you will have at actually keeping the weight off.

What Science Says About Successful Weight Control

The best study of successful long-term weight control, the National Weight Control Registry, found that its 5,000+ members do not take pills or potions or undergo invasive surgery. They keep it simple and sensible. The vast majority walk about an hour every day and follow a diet that’s low in fat and full of healthy, naturally low-in-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. They have lost on average 66 pounds and have kept those pounds off, on average, for six years.

None of these weight-loss winners “committed” to oily discharge, out-of-control bowel movements, and nutrient loss.

“Alli is one big OOPS – for the FDA, for GlaxoSmithKline, for all of us. Someone should be committed here, but it’s not the two-thirds of Americans who need help in losing weight,” sums up Novick. — read full article

And what about the absorption of important fat soluble vitamins that are also blocked by this pill? Just “supplementing” these vitamins will not help…because even the supplements need fat to be absorbed (hence the words “fat soluble”).

Alli does interfere with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. It’s important to take a vitamin/mineral supplement while taking Alli, but that is no guarantee that your body will still get and absorb all the nutrients that it needs—especially those that need fat to be absorbed.

Alli doesn’t care whether the fat you ate was from a Big Mac or a healthy serving of salmon. Even though all types of fat aren’t bad for you, Alli will take both good and bad fats out of the body. Dietitian Becky thinks this issue is “very important,” despite its lack of mention in the press and in the Alli support materials. Healthy fats are important for your overall health, and blocking them can have negative effects. — read full post

If you are still interested in giving this FDA approved diet pill at try, it won’t be cheap.

The pills vary in price depending on where they are purchased. At the Walgreen’s at 15th and Broadway in Sacramento, the 90-pill starter kit costs $59.99, a 60-pill starter kit costs $49.99, and a 120-pill re-fill with no accompanying literature costs $69.99. — read full article

And because it is my belief that this diet pill (that anyone can buy over the counter) will spawn a whole new problem for the eating disorder community, I am including links to information and support.

The National Eating Disorder Association

One in 10 young girls are prone to eating disorders.

Eating Disorder Warning Signs

BlogHer blogging on surviving eating disorders ED Survivors Club

If you are a BlogHer who has tried the diet pill “alli”, I hope you will leave a comment on your experience with it.

If you or a family member suffers from an eating disorder, I would be interested in how you feel about the possible abuse of this “alli” diet pill.

And for the rest of the BlogHers…What do you think about this pill? Would you consider spending the money to try it? Do you think it’s a good idea to have a pill like this available over the counter? Do you question the FDA’s decision to approve this drug as a “safe and effective” pill for weight loss?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
also at Women 4 Hope and CatherineBlogs.com

alli image from

UPDATED INFORMATION: I didn’t think I could be any more appalled with the marketing of this diarrhea pill masquerading as a healthy weight loss aide. And then I was looking for a book in Walmart and saw their latest marketing scheme, their very own diet book…

The alli Diet Plan

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The alli Diet Plan (Paperback)
by Caroline Apovian M.D. (Author)

     
     
     
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31 Responses to “UPDATED INFORMATION: The Alli Diet Pill — Pharmaceutical Profits & Propaganda”

  1. liara said

    The socio-cultural crisis of self-image has spawned booming industries. Year after year, the most popular non-fiction books promote and analyze the latest diet trends. Why do people buy into all this? Consider history of Renaissance woman, among other culturally-acceptable body shapes. I’ve known friends to follow many diets, deom popping pills, and weight reduction tea, to consuming meal supplement bars, and fibre shakes. Maybe its time to rethink the power of attracting the body you’d like to have? Condition mind over matter so that you no longer perpetuate your own dissatisfaction. Learn to step back and understand the multi-billion dollar pharmeceutical industry survives based our sense of vulnerability and constant desire for change. Gain insight into how you feel about yourself and why. You’ll be less likely to take chances ingesting pills and playing with the inner balance of your body. Imagine how much more fulfilling your life would be if you were to let go of insecurities and accepted yourself for who you are? Greater equilibrium, happiness and new health choices are more likely to follow. Diet pills wouldn’t even come into your mind as an option.

  2. francoyong said

    Amazing blog. Nice and wonderful…lots for different takes. Second time visiting as promised. Keep writng, Catherine.

    Regards,

    Franco
    http://www.francoyong.com

  3. Thanks Franco — I’m happy you like the blog, do come for a visit again.

    Catherine

  4. francoyong said

    Hi Catherine..just thinking of you. Here I am again. Keep well.

    Om.

    Franco
    http://www.francoyong.com

  5. […] starvation. — by Catherine Morgan Successful dieting and weight loss comes from one thing, and it’s not a bottle or a book. Being successful at weight loss takes only one step…A commitment to eating healthy […]

  6. alli said

    it’s the fda approved weight loss pill, but…it has has serious site effects, so if u want to use these medicine u have to take some proper guidence…

  7. rayray7 said

    Stopping yourself from overeating is harder than it sounds. It is all too easy to eat more than you intended to. Some good tips to help solve this problem are to eat and leave the dinner table. Lounging around the table after you are done eating will only encourage you to eat more than you planned on.Diet pills is not the answer. When you have time do check out my blog http://www.easywaystostayslim.blogspot.com

  8. jennifer said

    i have been taking alli for awhile and i have not experienced any treatment effects. i am 26, 5’1″ and 235 lbs. this pill has helped me on my plan to keep from having health problems, now i realize you may think i am causing more problems by using this pill. starting i cut my meals down to no more than 19g of fat per meal and 1800 calories in a day, alli encourages you to make healthy eating choices and get a good variety. i know that by doing that alone and about 60 mins of excersize a week is going to make a dramatic difference in my lifestyle, the pill just helps you burn about 50% more than dieting alone. as i said in the beggining i have not had any treatment effects (i.e. loose stool, gas, cramping, or bloating), and i think that is due to the healthy eating part of the plan.

  9. Donna said

    If faith was a pill would you take it?

  10. jackie said

    i am pretty sure my daughter has been taking some sort of diarrea inducing weight loss pills like Alli but she denies it. It has caused her to become “sick” with the runs with general malaise thereby removing her from family activities numerous. When I ask her about it just says she has caught a “bug” or drank or ate something that doesn’t agree with her. I am worried about her. She’s an adult but I don’t know what to say to her. jackie

  11. John said

    The thing is with weight loss supplements is that for some it is going to work great with no serious side effects and for others it’s going to be lousy with bad side effects. Alli is another weight loss pill that has good and bad just like any other on the market which has been screamed and shouted about. The big difference with this I know is the FDA approval.

  12. Diets said

    your diet plan and exercise routines as habits they will become just that. Then it becomes second nature and you will never have to think of it as a feat you cannot conquer.

  13. Would you happen to know if it’s’s safe to lift weights while making an attempt to lose weight? I have made it my new years resolution so I am trying to stay with it.

  14. Hey – nice blog, just looking around some websites, seems a pretty nice platform you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?

  15. Hey, found your site by accident doing a search on Yahoo but I’ll definitely be returning. As for your post… I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here but wouldn’t it be just as easy to let it go? I mean why mess with your quality of life if you don’t have to?

  16. Gertrud said

    Hello. Very nice Post. Not really what i have searched over Google, but thanks for the information. Can you email me back, please. Awaiting your Answer.

  17. Carmen said

    Always good to see, that was obvious a excellent article. In theory would like to be such a good writer too. It takes time to creat that informative and in addition real effort to write a brilliant article.

  18. Phil, you are absolutely correct, it shows that you’re an authority on the subject. I admire someone that takes the pride you have and with your projecton of information. oSo when i actually do sit down to read material, I appreciate well written and organized blogs like this one. I have it bookmarked and will be back. Thanks.

  19. Elizabeth said

    I totally agree that this diet pill is an utter waste of money and not safe. I tried the diet pills and yeh I did loose a little bit of weight, but after managing to stay on them for two weeks I was hardly able to show myself off for the fear of having an accident. Plus I had side effects like cramp in my stomache, bowels and lower back. All that from just two weeks of the stupid little blue tablets! Think id rather stay the way I am than be unwell and stick like and in a nappy. Its also alarming that they can be bought over the counter. Never again Im sticking to running with my dog and eating sensibly!!

  20. axleyer said

    Thank you for the great product.The information is very much useful in choosing the right pill.I think natural or herbal weight loss pills are safe too use. They don’t have side effect.pills like stratzol burn fat in a natural way.Choosing the right pill is important.

  21. rami said

    i have seen a lot of good and bad reviews about the Alli pills
    it is realy hard to say!

  22. It’s good too read your site again dude, i see some interesting updates here…

  23. Daniela said

    Last year I did the Ally diet, and I had great result I lost 30 pounds in two months. The pill helped me to have autocontrol, I knew I couldn’t eat to much fat, and I also knew that I had to excercise everyday, I only took the pills for two month, after that I just keep a healthy diet and keep excercising, and I am doing great, i think that people that has not selfcontrol, and if after reading the side effect on the bottle of the pill about how much fat to eat everyday, and still eat it, ofcourse they are gonna have diahrea and all kinds side effect, that’s why this pill has to be taking with responsability. Now yes it would be much better to loose weigth in a natural way, but if that was so easy, this country or the world woun’t have so many overweight people. also every single pill we take, for anything, could have a side effect if not taking as direct and with responsability.

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