Magazine article Drug Topics

Novel Drug Promotes Weight Loss, Reduces Obesity-Related Risks

Magazine article Drug Topics

Novel Drug Promotes Weight Loss, Reduces Obesity-Related Risks

Article excerpt

A novel antiobesity agent has arrived with a brand-new way of shedding excess poundsapparently, it keeps them-from settling down in the first place.

Indicated for obesity management in conjunction with a reducedcalorie diet, Xenical (orlistat, Hoffmann-La Roche) is a minimally absorbable lipase inhibitor that acts in the lumen of the stomach and small intestine to inhibit gastric and pancreatic lipases from hydrolyzing ingested dietary fat into absorbable free fatty acids and monoglycerides. Approximately one-third of dietary fat passes through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract unabsorbed into the stools, resulting in a positive effect on weight control.

Muna Bitar, Pharm.D., product services manager at Roche, said that orlistat's unique mechanism of action appears to be a favorable feature since it results in effects that are localized to the GI tract. Most other antiobesity agents work systemically in the central nervous system.

How much weight loss can one expect from orlistat? Pooled data from five clinical trials indicated that overall mean weight loss at the end of six months and one year of treatment were 12.4 lb. and 13.4 lb. in patients treated with orlistat and 6.2 lb. and 5.8 lb. in those given placebo, respectively.

One of orlistat's promising characteristics may be its ability to reduce the risk of weight regain, Bitar pointed out. Data from one of several trials on maintenance of weight loss during the second year of therapy showed that patients undergoing treatment with orlistat regained 26% of the initial weight, compared with those given placebo, who experienced a 52% regain.

While the weight-loss benefits of orlistat appear to be modest, the drug's effects on cardiovascular risk factors will perhaps make it an appetizing choice for obese patients with various comorbidities. According to Bitar, orlistat was shown to produce improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, LDL/HDL ratio, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin levels. These effects were consistant with the weight loss. She noted that more orlistat-treated diabetes patients than placebotreated diabetes patients were able to either decrease or discontinue their sulfonylurea regimens.

The most common side effects experienced by patients in trials were of GI origin and primarily caused by the unabsorbed fat passing through the intestines. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.