In the midst of the current obesity epidemic in America, more and more people are turning to weight loss drugs as a way to shed unwanted pounds. Medications such as Alli and Xenical are advertised as miracle drugs that can help people slim down. Unfortunately, these particular medications are considered dangerous drugs that have been linked to serious health conditions.
Research done by disability lawyers in Milwaukee, WI has discovered that the over-the-counter weight-loss drug Alli and its prescription form Xenical have been associated with liver failure, acute pancreatitis, kidney stones and even death.
Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen recently petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pull these medications from the market. It noted that the drugs were linked to 47 cases of acute pancreatitis and 73 cases of kidney stones. Public Citizen found that at least three people taking these drugs developed acute kidney failure and at least one needed dialysis and ultimately died.
Both Alli, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, and Xenical, made by Hoffman-LaRoche, contain orlistat, which is used to help overweight people lose weight. Orlistat essentially works by blocking the enzymes that break down fat.
Despite much media hype, both of these drugs have shown minimal benefits to overweight and obese users. Research indicates that people taking Xenical while dieting and exercising for one year lost only five and a half additional pounds than those who only dieted and exercised. Many feel this meager weight loss benefit is not worth potential damage to multiple critical organs.
The current petition to the FDA marks the second time Public Citizen has sought to have Xenical removed from the market. In 2006, it requested the medication be banned after research revealed that orlistat caused pre-cancerous lesions in the colon.
While the FDA failed to pull Xenical from the shelves, it did issue a warning of rare “severe liver injury” caused by orlistat in 2010. The FDA identified 12 foreign reports of severe liver toxicity linked to Xenical and one domestic case linked to Alli. Of these users, two died of liver failure and three needed liver transplants.
Alli and Xenical have clearly been linked to various health problems. Anyone suffering from health conditions after taking these dangerous drugs should consider speaking to an attorney about their rights and options.