Roche is happy. Their drug for blocking fat absorption called Xenical (brand name Orlistat) was approved by the FDA in 1999 and is today, still a big seller.

Xenical shuts down an enzyme which compromises digestion of about 30 percent of the fat an individual consumes.

The FDA describes the side effects delicately as "oily spotting, gas with discharge, fecal urgency, fatty/oily stools and frequent bowel movements." In English this means diarrhea and wet er...flatulence (OK when you 'break wind', some substance might be present and it won't be roses!).

The FDA noted that this might serve as a 'punishment' for those who use Xenical like the other sellers of fat blockers suggest their products are used i.e. eat all you want of cheeseburgers and Taco Salad with no weight gain. Xenical is widely prescribed and lately has been being used on obese children.

In the studies, those who took Xenical, lost about 5 or 10 lbs (or about 10 percent of their body weight) which did not, by any stretch of the imagination, make them 'stylishly' thin. However, it was enough, said the FDA to address health problems.

The hidden danger of Xenical may be the undermining of the digestion of fat soluble vitamins, especially beta carotene. Beta carotene is suspected to be DIRECTLY RELATED with preventing cancer and scientists worry that a widespread use of products like Xenical which deplete the body of beta-carotene, might cause a significant increase in cancer. Speaking of cancer, Roche told the media that there was no evidence that taking Xenical caused breast cancer.... which means that it is, INDEED suspected to cause breast cancer. If it were not suspect, why even bring it up in a diet related article?

article by SueW

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