Brisbane, Australia (PressExposure) April 24, 2009 -- The active ingredient in the drug is a compound called Orlistat. which works by preventing the absorption of dietary fats in the intestine. Orlistat is used to treat obesity, and Alli is a lower dose version of the same drug.
Alli increases the weight lost achieved through a low calorie diet by 50 per cent, by preventing the absorption of around 25 per cent of fat. It available from pharmacists after a brief consultation, and is licensed for use by people with a Body Mass Index of 28 or more.
While the expert consensus is that the drug is useful in giving people a kick start to their weight loss program, it is not a magic bullet. The drug has some unpleasant side effects such as oily loose stools, and frequent bowel movements, and there are concerns that it may be misused, and should not be seen as a quick fix.
The advice from the Medical Research Council's Human Nutrition Research centre at Cambridge University, is that the drug should be used in conjunction with a low-fat diet, and will only be effective if users become more aware of what they are eating and make the changes needed to sustain the weight loss.
Alli offers a clinically proven way to help people lose weight when added to a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet, as it can help people lose 50% more weight than dieting alone. However, it needs to be used for at lease 3 months, and clinical trials showed that after Orlistat was stopped, a significant number of subjects regained up to 35% of the weight they had lost.