New anti-obesity pill

The £1 over-the-counter pill that 'could cure obesity'

A new over-the-counter pill could be the ‘miracle cure’ to fighting obesity, say drug manufacturers.

Alli costs just £1, is available at chemists and is a more readily available version of Xenical, a prescription-only drug which doctors give to treat obesity.

Both drugs, Alli and Xenical, contain orlistat, which interferes with enzymes called lipases, which break down fat.

Orlistat stops some fat being digested, meaning it can’t be absorbed by the body and passes straight through.

Alli is a half-strength version of the more powerful Xenical and has already proved to be a hit Stateside where it launched last June.

Sales of the anti-fat pill have surpassed £75 million and the drug’s manufacturers say Alli helps dieters lose 50% more weight. The company predicts taking Alli and combining it with diet and exercise should see a 3lb a week drop in weight.

Although not yet available in the UK, pharmaceutical company GlaxiSmithKline has applied for a license to sell Alli in Britain, meaning the pill could be available to buy next year.

Professor Williams of Bristol University commented on the new drug saying: ‘People who take these drugs without comprehensively changing their lifestyle will probably lose less weight than those who make lifestyle changes.’

Prof Williams continued saying those after a ‘quick fix’ by buying the drug over the counter would end up disappointed.

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