Weight Loss Tips & Secrets

Weight Loss Tips & Secrets

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Weighing Alli’s impact: eating disorder patients might be tempted to abuse the first FDA-approved nonprescription diet pill.

In February the FDA approved Alli, an over-the-counter (OTC OTC

Prostrated by Pain and Pills

See: Over-the-counter.


OTC

See over-the-counter market (OTC). )

version of orlistat (Xenical). Alli is expected to arrive in drugstores

this month. The advent of America’s first FDA-approved

nonprescription diet pill likely will assist some people attempting to

lose weight because of the medical risks associated with obesity. Yet

because Alli will be readily available, some patients with eating

disorders likely will abuse this medication and potentially incur

dangerous medical side effects.

Research suggests that people with eating disorders regularly abuse

OTC diet products to control weight and suppress appetite. Between 28%

(1) and 64% (2) of eating disorder outpatients might use such products

to control weight and appetite. The percentages of adult and adolescent

eating disorder patients who abuse OTC products are similar. Eating

disorder patients continue to use such products despite adverse side

effects (2) and despite the fact that no OTC diet product (until now)

has FDA approval or established efficacy for weight loss or appetite

suppression. Yet because Alli has FDA approval as a diet aid and because

orlistat is known to increase weight loss among dieters by as much as

40%, (3) it is possible that even greater percentages of eating disorder

sufferers will misuse Alli.

In fact, several case studies have documented orlistat abuse among

patients with eating disorders. Normal-weight patients with bulimia

nervosa have abused orlistat as a purging mechanism. (4-6) Patients who

initially meet criteria for binge eating disorder binge eating disorder
n. Abbr. BED
A recurrent eating disorder characterized by the uncontrolled, excessive intake of any available food and often occurring following stressful events.

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