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Eur J Pharmacol. 2002 Apr 12;440(2-3):109-17.

Orlistat: its current status as an anti-obesity drug.

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Department of Adult and Paediatric Gastroenterology, Digestive Diseases Research Centre, St. Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Turner Street, London E1 2AT, UK.


Orlistat is a non-centrally acting anti-obesity agent that acts locally in the gastrointestinal tract to inhibit lipase, an enzyme that is crucial for the digestion of long-chain triglycerides. At the recommended dose of 120 mg three times daily, orlistat inhibits dietary fat absorption by about 30%. Over a 1-year period, obese patients taking orlistat in combination with a hypocaloric diet show a reduction of 2-5 kg over the weight decrease with placebo. When continued for a second year in combination with a weight maintenance diet, orlistat reduces weight regain compared to placebo-treated patients. Orlistat in combination with dietary intervention is also associated with beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors including total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and plasma glucose. It is not known if orlistat has any impact on clinical outcomes such as myocardial infarction, stroke and sudden death. Orlistat has not been compared with other anti-obesity agents.

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