New Nonprescription Weight Loss Product

W. Steven Pray, PhD, DPh


US Pharmacist. 2007;32(10):10-15. 

In This Article

Pharmacist's Role

The pharmacist is once again positioned to dispel many misconceptions about orlistat. As in the Newsweek article cited above, the major focus of news stories and consumer conversation is the possibility of orange, oily fecal leakage. This may be partly due to the fact that there has seldom been a widely used nonprescription product with this degree of potential embarrassment with its usage. Consumer sites also describe the major effectiveness of orlistat as being in fear of the major adverse effect. In the words of one correspondent: "The end result is that eating fat is unpleasant so you will reduce your intake while on the drug. The drug is a type of behavior modification..."[21]

Some pharmacists have derisively referred to orlistat as "gastric Antabuse" or "fried food punishment." While this graphically describes the effect of orlistat, pharmacists can provide a more balanced explanation of orlistat for prospective users. They can justifiably point out that orlistat was never meant to be a weight loss miracle in and of itself. As fully explained by the manufacturer, orlistat is an aid to weight loss in patients who are already committed to becoming thinner. Such a patient will demonstrate that commitment by voluntarily following a low-fat diet and exercising more, even prior to beginning therapy with orlistat.

Pharmacists should urge purchasers to visit The Web site offers an individually tailored action plan (myalliplan) to help patients achieve healthy weight loss. Patients register for the plan using the individual number found inside the Starter Pack, entering their goal weight and other details about their diet plan. The company sends information about eating correctly and provides instructions on how to check in to record progress each week. It gives immediate feedback. The other features of the Web site are too numerous to mention, but all aim toward the goal of healthy weight loss using this nonprescription product.


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