First FDA Approved OTC Weight-Loss Drug: "Alli"

The first over-the-counter FDA approved weight-loss drug is called “alli” and it will cost you about $3 a day, according to the New York Times:

An obesity specialist in Washington, Dr. Arthur Frank, said Alli had a safe track record and could help patients lose 5 to 10 percent of their weight. On the negative side, Alli can cause annoying side effects including diarrhea and oily stools.

Alli’s marketing plan calls for a realistic approach that will emphasize the need to diet and exercise while taking the medication. In studies, about half of patients taking Alli in combination with a diet and exercise plan lost 5 percent or more of their body weight in six months.

Mmmm, oily stools! The OTC drug is a variation on the drug Xenical, which has been available since 1999.—MEGHANN MARCO

Weight-Loss Drug To Be Sold Over The Counter [NYT]


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  1. It’s funny — it is always that new wonder drug X will help you lose weight as long as it is used with DIET AND EXERCISE.

    Ya think?

  2. faust1200 says:

    Ha. I knew someone who used to take this. How very many times she ended up discharging orange oil involuntarily. Xenical works in two ways. It reduces the fat absorbed plus it makes you not want to eat fat because you know you will end up with poopy (erm, oily) pants. It also blocks vitamin absorption and recommends you take a multivitamin with this. In my friend’s case (seriously not me) she just ended up incontinent and sickly despite a multivitamin and received no significant weight-loss benefit. Now would be a great time to get stock in stain removers.

  3. kerry says:

    According to the article it will help you lose 5% of your weight in 6 months. I did the math and I could easily lose that much by normal dieting and exercise in the same amount of time. They also say that in order to avoid the oily poo less than 30% of your calories should come from fat. Guess how many calories from fat are ideal? 30% or less. This is just a pill to make you feel crappy if you eat poorly. I’d like to know when an actual non-amphetamine appetite suppressant will come to the OTC market.

  4. TJF says:

    How about I go to the gym a couple days a week (or walk around my neighborhood or something), not eat a ton of crappy food, and lose the weight without $3/day and involuntary poopy-pants?

    It only takes like 30min/day 3x a week and to have some self control and not eat like crap! Any anyone can do it and see results!!!!

  5. muddgirl says:

    A doctor on NPR this morning claimed that, for every 5 lbs lost through diet and exercise, Xenical will help you lose 2-3 more. It does this by blocking 20-25% of the fat consumed from being absorbed in the gut. A high fat diet means more fat will be passed in the stool. A low fat diet means less nasty stool.

  6. mike1731 says:

    Oh, goodie! I can loose 5% of my weight in 6 months, if I take this pill, diet and exercise!

    Or, I can skip the pill, diet and exercise, and lose more than that amount? I’m currently in a medically supervised diet program that focuses on meal replacements and low fat meals, along with a goal of 2000 calories/week of excercise, and average monthly weight loss trends around 5%.

    I’m sorry, but I think it’s far wiser to focus on life style changes that end up with the person consuming fewer calories (substituting more fruit/veggies/unprocessed meals for junk food) and incorporating exercise into your daily life.

    Besides, what fun is being skinnier if you have to wear a diaper to catch “runoff” as a medical byproduct?

  7. crayonshinobi says:

    Just reading the posts about this drug is an effective appetite suppressant. Yeesh.

  8. ValkRaider says:

    Olestra in pill form?

  9. Yaotl says:

    So this is just like olestra? What happens when you eat chips with olestra and take these pills? A sight I would not like to behold I’m sure.

  10. Didn’t the Oily Stools open for Panic At The Disco?

  11. Xkeeper says:

    Pretty much what everyone else said; I attend Weight Watchers with my mother (I fucked up and let myself get overweight, now I’m fixing the problem).

    I’ve been there 16 weeks now. Doing the math with “total lost” and “estimated loss by end of six months total”, I am actually in the range of losing about 13% of my total body weight… in six months. From just eating less and such.

    In all honesty, it feels like nothing’s changed, since I eat pretty much the same stuff (just avoiding 1,000-calorie dinners like top ramen on occasion).

    What a lot of you seem to miss is that, if this is an OTC, there’s not much stopping people who go “Oh, I’m fat :(” from buying this and abusing it thinking it means quick weight loss. It removes going to a professional and telling them healthy (and good) ways to lose…

    I worry about this, but :/ I can only hope it isn’t abused.

  12. A doctor wanted me to take this a few years ago. A quick Internet search turned up a page put up by a woman who said the medication made her sick to the point where eating anything made her break out all over. Doctor’s couldn’t figure out what was wrong and stopping the meds didn’t stop the symptoms.

    I suppose it could have turned out to be caused by something else but there was no way I was taking it after reading that.

  13. Soulgenesis says:

    if i’m going to be sick anyway while on this pill, i’d rather have the flu. best diet ever.

    also, i diet and exercise anyway, though not fully. i walk/run and eat healthy. 5% of my weight in 6 months? i’m currently 190 from 200. did that in a month. no oily stool here. xD

  14. Stepehn Colbert says:

    I tried xenical, it works, but because it basically causes the fat in what you eat float to the top of your stomach, it gets passed whole, and not digested. Therefore, with that oily fat running through you, you are much more likely to have a little accident the next time you fart, or you may need to stick some paper down there cuz the fat will literally leak out of you. Ya its gross. No I dont believe it’ll deter you fat people from using it.

  15. FLConsumer says:

    Nero: Not exactly… it coats the small intestine, which prevents in uptake of fat. The end result is not dissimilar from the medical condition of “Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth”(SIBO). Why anyone would willing want to subject themselves to this is beyond me.

    Also, I’m rather lazy… If someone’s fat enough to consider something like this, why would they bother to take a pill that would prevent them from eating the food that they love (and refuse to cut back on)? Wouldn’t they just stop taking the pill so they could eat whatever they want, however much of it they want?

    Also, does anyone know where I can upload MP3s and get a nice Flash player like used to do? They don’t allow it anymore for new users apparently. I’ve got a radio bit we did on Xenical several years ago, seems appropriate to bring it out again.

  16. planetdaddy says:

    I go with the flu. I was sick for the last five days and lost 10 pounds!

  17. Itch says:

    Ya know I was wondering the same thing as ValkRaider and Yaotl. Just another form of olestra? Are there any chemists in the house that can explain to us the difference? Or at least find a good source to show the molecular shape?

  18. Her Grace says:

    I do not approve of this pill having my name, even if it’s spelled wrong. Bastards. Now I know how all the girls named Allegra feel.

  19. the best are the flu and a tapeworm.

  20. kerry says:

    Olestra is a soy-based oil for frying that’s used in certain foods. The oil is not absorbed by the intestine, and instead passes through undigested. The outcome of too much olestra would me much like eating too much fat while taking xenical. The difference is that with olestra it’s the oil that’s the problem, while with xenical it’s a drug that makes all oils behave like olestra and pass without being digested.
    Oh, and if the flu doesn’t work, try getting some teeth pulled. I had my wisdom teeth out a couple years ago and lost 10 pounds on a pudding-n-broth diet. It also helped me quit smoking!

  21. Lacclolith says:

    Christ you people give out some truly asinine advice.

    Seriously though, what’s with all the hate on overweight people? Not everyone who’s overweight is so by result of their own actions. My metabolism slowed down to a crawl when I was sixteen, and It’s hard as sh*t to keep weight off, even eating a relatively conscious diet. I myself have always been skeptical of weight-loss aids due to the lack of FDA approval, but this brings much more promise because of it’s recent green lighting by a proper authority.

  22. SexCpotatoes says:

    Y’all are missing the point. If you take the pill for 20 years you can lose 100% of your weight! I wanna weigh 0 lbs. Then I will be perfect, and everyone will love me!

  23. tinyorangepig says:

    Interesting marketing approach though, they actually tell you that the product might NOT be right for you and that it is not for everyone. They are also honest about the side effects….while they call them treatment effects, they at least acknowledge that they can happen and that they are preventable. We will see if the American public can stomach (pun intended) this pill, and if it takes off. Is it better or worse for you compared to the diet supplements on the market that do NOT require FDA approval?

  24. Itch says:

    I wonder tiny, are you an shil for the medical company? I’ve happened to come across also the same post elsewhere for alli.

  25. ChristineS says:

    I found two studies stating that this medication can put you under the risk of kidney stone formation: