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Sunday, July 05, 2009

GSK's Alli Linked to Liver Failure!


Source: Sunday Mail
Hat-Tip - Ruth

A slimming pill that triggered massive sales when it was launched earlier this year is being investigated amid fears it is linked to liver damage.

Alli, which blocks the absorption of fat in the gut, is the first diet pill of its kind to be available without prescription.

Its main ingredient is the drug orlistat. But now the US medicine watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is investigating a series of alerts from patients who developed problems while taking orlistat.

The UK drugs regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has also received 31 reports of side effects linked to orlistat since Alli was launched in April.

But it was not able to say if those were from patients taking Alli or the stronger pill Xenical – which also contains orlistat but is available only on prescription.

Since Xenical became available in 2001, 24 patients taking it have died, one of liver failure and the others from heart attacks, gall bladder inflammation, multi-organ failure and lung clots. There were also five cases of sudden death where the cause was unclear. In total, the MHRA has received 1,252 reports from patients of potential side effects from Xenical, including heart problems, gastrointestinal issues and skin complaints. Nearly 100 were connected with liver problems.

On the day Alli was launched in the UK, £1million worth of pills were sold. But it has already provoked controversy. Manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) claims it can boost weight loss by up to 50 per cent, helping dieters lose an extra 1lb for every 2lb shed.

Read More

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