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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2008 Jun;18(5):342-8. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Orlistat and sibutramine beyond weight loss.

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  • 1Section of Endocrinology, Department of Clinical Pathophysiology, University of Florence, viale Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy.



To investigate, through a meta-analysis of clinical trials, the effect of two weight-reducing drugs, such as orlistat and sibutramine, on serum lipid profiles in overweight and obese subjects, independently of weight loss.


A systematic search strategy, incorporating the terms orlistat, sibutramine, fat, cholesterol, lipid profile, cardiovascular risk, was developed to identify randomized trials in MEDLINE from inception to the end of May 2005. Trial selection was limited by language of publication (English) and duration (6-12 months).


Fifteen and ten randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials on orlistat and sibutramine respectively, were eligible for inclusion. In the 15 trials with orlistat, mean weight loss showed a significant correlation with mean reduction of total cholesterol (r=0.48; p<0.05), which maintained statistical significance after adjustment for mean weight loss (B=-2.81+/-1.28; p<0.05). Conversely, in the ten trials with sibutramine, treatment was not associated with a significant decrease in cholesterol levels after adjustment for weight loss (B=3.25+/-4.13; p not significant).


Orlistat or sibutramine, when individually compared to placebo, are effective in promoting significant weight loss. In addition, orlistat determines a significant reduction of total cholesterol, independent of weight loss itself. These observations indicate that orlistat is a useful adjunctive tool for improving cardiovascular risk factor profiles in overweight and obese patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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