News broke today of a new report on diet pills such as ALLI (the fat busting pill in the windows of almost every chemist and pharmacy in the UK) that suggests these miracle cure super magic bullet diet pills can increase the risk of liver damage.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is investigating reports of liver damage in patients taking diet pills containing the chemical orlistat, an ingredient in the popular over-the-counter drug Alli and its prescription version Xenical says www.newsday.com
While the FDA has not sent out a public warning about the drug, it is looking at reports that 32 cases of serious liver damage have been identified from 1999 to 2008, including six cases of liver failure. All but two of the injuries occurred outside the United States.
"We estimate that since 1999, more than 11 million prescriptions have been dispensed, and we see 32 adverse events around the world. It's a fairly unusual occurrence [for a] very popular drug," an FDA spokeswoman said.
Orlistat blocks the intestines from absorbing fat when taken up to three times a day with meals. The FDA approved Xenical in 1999 for weight management in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet. Alli, which contains half the dose of orlistat, was cleared for nonprescription use in 2007.
Both drugs are marketed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, though Xenical is manufactured by Swiss firm Roche.
The makers Glaxo Smithkline (GSK) have dismissed claims that the research proves diet pills such as Alli can cause liver damage, suggesting it's the fact that people are fat that makes them more prone to liver problems, not their miracle diet pills that they say can help fatties lose an extra 1lb a week - 3lb of weight loss per week instead of 2lb weight loss. London Nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston says "We were invited to help publicise these diet pills when they were first launched but we refused. We are opposed to them - they encourage the notion that people can eat the same unhealthy food and just take a diet pill to stop fat being absorbed into the body. These diet pills also perpetuate the myth that all fat is bad. Some fats are essential. It's too much saturated animal fat and processed vegetable fat in our diets that is the problem. Meanwhile many people actually have a shortage of the essential omega 3 fats and EPA which is needed for the healthy integrity of every cell membrane in the body and especially the body's vital organs such as the brain."
"Don't take these pills - eat more healthily, eat essential nutrient dense food rather than just belly enhancing calorie dense food" is the Nutritionist's message.