Orlistat – Do You Really Use This Dangerous Stuff?
By Nurse Mark
It seems that not a week – no, make that not a day – goes by that the FDA isn’t forced to announce yet another warning regarding the risks to life and health of the drugs that it has so cavalierly approved at the behest of it’s masters in Big Pharma.
This week’s eye-opener is the announcement that the “weight-loss” drug Orlistat and it’s Over-The-Counter (O.T.C.) counterpart Alli must now carry a label warning about the potential for severe liver damage.
It seems that some of the victims of this bad joke of a drug died or needed a liver transplant.
Yep, that’ll help ya lose some weight for sure!
While this is news here, it is not a surprise – I warned you about Orlistat over 3 years ago!
Here is that article reprinted from the 02/15/2007 issue of HealthBeat News:
Embarrassing Diet Drug Gets FDA OTC Approval
by Mark Ziemann, R.N.
Whoo-ee! Yet another prescription drug of questionable value now approved for unlimited over-the-counter (OTC) sales! Now we can poison ourselves without a doctor’s prescription.
Is there nothing that Big Pharma in collusion with the FDA isn’t willing to foist upon us?
Orlistat (xenical), a dubious weight loss drug brought to you by Drug Giant Roche, is now available as an Over-The-Counter drug to anyone foolish enough to believe it might help them lose weight. It’s O.T.C. name is “Alli.”
[Dr. Myatt's note: If you read the studies and calculate your way through the obtuse statistics, you'll find that patients on Orlistat lost about 2 pounds per month--- that's right--- a total of two pounds per month--- on a combination of the drug, diet and exercise. Excuse me, folks, but if you don't lose at least 8 pounds per month on a combination of diet and exercise and NO drugs, you're doing something wrong with your dieting efforts].
This drug offers both medically dangerous AND truly embarrassing side effects with use, which perhaps explains why over 50% of people in the drug studies dropped out after a short time. If you understand how this stupid drug works, I think you’ll see why we say “stay far, far away” from it and all other prescription diet drugs.
Orlistat “works” (whoopee — remember, about two pounds per month!) by blocking the absorption dietary fat. The misguided thinking here is that “fat makes you fat,” and anything done to stop the body from absorbing fat must of course result in weight loss. What hogwash! Not only is fat essential to life as we know it (ever heard of “essential fatty acids?”), but there are a whole host of fat soluble vitamins blocked from absorption as well.
This is such a serious problem that even the FDA alludes to it in carefully understated terms, saying: “Because of the possible loss of certain nutrients, it is recommended that people using Orlistat should also take a multivitamin at bedtime.” The fact that the FDA has actually recommended the use of multiple vitamins indicates that the nutrient loss is serious indeed.
It’s the “other” side effects that are more noticeably inconvenient. After all, a deficiency of say, fat-soluble vitamin D won’t be immediately apparent, but will show up months or years later as osteoporosis or prostate cancer. Few people will connect the dots to Orlistat, at least not for many years and beaucoup bucks in Big Pharma income. But the immediate side-effect is what gets attention, as well it should. The FDA, using language carefully crafted to not offend their benefactor Roche Pharmaceuticals, blandly states that “the most common side effect of the product is a change in bowel habits, which may include loose stools.”
Roche has been a little more forthcoming on their website. They list a veritable cornucopia of side effects. I hate to let this discussion degenerate into “potty-talk,” but that is what most of these side effects involve. The most common “adverse event” is discretely referred to as “oily spotting” – I won’t describe this any further other than to say that your nice white underwear will need washing (maybe degreasing?) more often – and this apparently occurs without your knowledge.
Then there is the second most common “adverse event” – delicately referred to as “flatus with discharge.” I’m guessing this little “oopsie” probably occurs with your knowledge – let’s just hope it doesn’t happen in public too often.
The third most common “adverse reaction” is carefully termed as “fecal urgency” and I’m guessing that it goes along with number two (no pun intended) above, as in “Oops! I thought it was just a little gas but… would you direct me to the restroom?”
Then there is the “adverse event” of all adverse events: Roche admits that 7.7 percent of patients taking their drug Xenical (orlistat) experienced “fecal incontinence,” an out-and-out “oops – I filled my pants” kind of adverse event. Golly folks, this really sounds like something that I want to rush right out and buy, so that I can deny my body the essential fats and fat soluble vitamins it needs while at the same time increasing my laundry bills and my potential for public humiliation. (NOT!)
On the other hand, maybe Roche has some kind of sweetheart deal going with the makers of adult diapers? Or maybe they are hoping you’ll buy some of their anti-anxiety drugs so you won’t care that you keep soiling your drawers?
The Orlistat folks also aren’t mentioning is that another drug, Sibutramine (a “head med”), outperformed Orlistat in nearly every study of weight loss. [Still nothing amazing, however. Sibutramine resulted in a 10-12 pound total weight loss --- another whoop-de-do --- and also caused elevated blood pressures and pulse rates].
Meanwhile, a safe and effective nutritional substance does what Orlistat does, only better. (But it’s a natural substance and therefore unpatentable, so you may not hear about it anyplace else but here). It won’t leave you filling your pants every time you sneeze just so that you can block the absorption of dietary fats. This substance is called chitosan, and it is “Nature’s Fat Grabber.”
Chitosan, a fibrous material derived from the outer shell (exoskeleton) of crustaceans, absorbs dietary fat and carries it through the G.I. tract without being digested. It will absorb fat (even the essential fats) and fat-soluble vitamins, but unlike orlistat that that blocks absorption, Chitosan binds these substances and carries them out of the body. No fecal urgency, no “oily spotting,” no need for diapers while using it. Studies have shown a 6 pound-per-month weight loss, which clearly outshines the above-mentioned drugs, plus a lowering of blood pressure. Chitosan also helps to lower cholesterol levels and has proven useful in kidney disease.
I certainly don’t recommend Xenical (Orlistat) use. There are no long-term studies showing that ANY of the FDA-approved diet drugs are safe for long-term use. Even chitosan should not be used with every meal, but instead reserved for those meals that are high in non-essential fats. (Like maybe a big blow-out dinner party). For kidney failure, chitosan is taken between meals and can and should be used long-term.
There’s usually more than one way to skin a cat, and I’d use chitosan LONG before I’d give this or any other dangerous and ineffective diet drug a try.
Posted in Drugs and Alternatives, Nutrition and Health, Weight Loss | No Comments »