UPDATED INFORMATION: The Alli Diet Pill — Pharmaceutical Profits & Propaganda
Posted by Catherine Morgan on July 3, 2007
Alli — “The Diarrhea Diet”
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previously was criticized for failing to act on heart dangers linked to Merck & Co.’s Vioxx painkiller before it was withdrawn in 2004, and for missing suicide risks linked to antidepressants.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. 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.
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.
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…
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