Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Alli

Back in February, the FDA approved Alli, an over-the-counter version of the weight-loss drug, Xenical. Alli, which cleverly sounds like a comrade in war or a girlfriend you'd meet for brunch (depending on how you pronounce it, though the correct pronunciation is the first), hit store shelves last week to an uproar, as expected.

The $50-something Alli starter pack sold out in hours in many pharmacies, in a furor typically reserved for a life-saving remedy. The Los Angeles Times interviewed Santa Monica pharmacist, Roe Love, who equated the Alli sellout with the post-9/11 anthrax-induced Cipro dash, reporting that the bulk of Alli purchasers at her store have been women, adding, "And they're not fat."

Love's store is in Santa Monica. Did we really think they would be?

If you haven't heard, Alli, which results in weight loss due to blocked fat absorption, comes with some minor side effects, of the gastro-intestinal sort. The manufacturer's (GlaxoSmithKline) website euphemistically refers to these as "treatment effects": 1) gas with oily spotting
2) loose stools 3) more frequent stools that may be hard to control.

Not terrible, but the site goes on to say: "You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work." That bad, huh? And, manufacturers warn that the product won't work without the adoption of a low-fat, low-calorie diet and commitment to an exercise plan. Seems like what we've been told for years. . . without the need to change our oily, loose-stooled pants.

18 comments:

Tym said...

Well see, now you get immediate feedback when you eat poorly! Maybe it won't really help you lose weight, but instead help you learn what you should be doing to lose weight.

Deja Pseu said...

tym, that's hogwash. One doesn't have to eat "poorly" to get the side effects; from what I've heard a couple teaspoons of regular salad dressing is enough to do the trick. I can't help but think that the incapacitating side effects are a feature, not a bug.

PalmTreeChick said...

They were talking about it on "The View" yesterday. The fill in host was saying how "orange oil" come shooting out your ass. Sounds really pleasant to me, all for a few pounds. No thank you!

Lady T said...

I'm thinking thats one of the goals (tym's comment). you begin to associate these consequences with "poor eating" and this will deter you from eating "poorly".

i can't believe they recommend you wear dark clothing and bring a change of clothes to work. thats insane! not that they suggested it, but that they needed to. lol.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that the "goal" is to get users to associate the "side effects" with "poor eating habits". I mean, if users did that, and it worked, they wouldn't need to buy the drug any more!

What a collosal waste of money. ARe we really that stupid that we'll PAY $50 for a case of the runs? Yep.

There's a great "commercial" for it on YouTube: search for "Alli poopy pants".

Tree Lover said...

All I can say is "Eww!" It's a really sad commentary on our society that there is such a huge demand for this drug. The whole thing is just depressing.

Bliss Chick said...

What!!! Ok, those side affects are the same as the symptoms I sometimes experince from my chronic digestive disease (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). For the life of me, I cannot comprend why someone would willing take a supplement that would cause those side effects. I mean, knowing what it is like to live with what I have, I would do anything to save the embarrassment and inconvenience. This makes NO sense!

Joan said...

There's still no such thing as a free lunch. All those side effects and you still have to watch your diet and exercise? For little or no extra benefit?

Here's another platitude: "There's a sucker born every minute!"

There is no easy way to lose weight and keep it off.

Charlynn said...

What will it take for people to understand that there is no magic weight-loss pill? If oily anal leakage can't do it, what can?

violet_yoshi said...

"The $50-something Alli starter pack sold out in hours in many pharmacies, in a furor typically reserved for a life-saving remedy."

Oh wait, but I thought being thin was a matter of life or death! Is it any surprise with the media pushing the message that being fat = one foot in the grave, that people would buy Alli as if it were a matter of life or death?

littlem said...

BlissChick, from what I've read, I understand that there may also be similar symptoms when one's gallbladder malfunctions.

I wasn't really paying attention at the time - I was doing a lot of jogging - but didn't we already do this with Olestra?

Violet_Yoshi has yet another important point re: what folks will swallow when they're too busy - or for whatever reason haven't done the research (see: Tym's comment as possible exhibit A, perhaps?) - to THINK.

I'm sure I rant way too much about a general societal lack of critical thinking and its ramifications.

Naaahh.

(Hi, everybody.)
*waves*

Emi said...

I totally thought of scoping out the drug store aisle with Alli last weekend but was too busy. Glad to see my suspicions confirmed.

nutterbug said...

"Immediate effects when you eat poorly" (tym). Nope, that's just the fat absorption blocking pill at work.

Geez, I can't believe people will willingly take something that's going to leak out your arse... the wonders of the female psyche...

GeekLady said...

I'm giving it a try. I was going to say I'm going to run with it, but that's redundant.

I know that there is no magic pill but after having thyroid malfunction, exercise and eating less (and more sensibly) aren't working for me either.

Something that removes 1/4 of the fat sounds worth trying.

If nothing else, maybe it will create an unpleasant association with fatty foods.

blu said...

I've been using it for the past week and have taken off about 4.5 pounds. I've taken Xenical (that was bought in a foreign country) before so I was familiar with the routine. I usually eat a low-fat diet anyway except for eating out so that's when I mainly use it. I only had one run to the bathroom the day after I went to Cici's Pizza. I think the weight has come off mainly because I cut out all the problem carbs in my diet in order to get my $50 worth out of the experience. It's my opinion that the company will eventually have to take it off the market because people with eating disorders will probably abuse it. They already take laxatives (and throw up) to lose weight.

eveLaur said...

(littlelem ) is right, I too was curious about this drug. I am not fat, by any means, just a little hippy*, which some guys perfer anyway... alli is just olestra regurgitated, apparently GlaxoSmithKline paid big bucks for the rights to olestra and put on this huge publicity stunt... it's really stupid how can people can fall for something so easily, if we just hide the secrets behind the curtains, c'mon people, it doesn't take rocket science to figure it out, do some research before buying into all the hype, do you really want to shell out 50 bucks for a *recycled* product?

Anonymous said...

I have been on the alli pill for 3 months and have lost a total of 27lbs. Im eating 20 grams of fat per day (my normal was about 60-70, I was a junk-food addict)and taking the pill. The weight loss has been so rapid! I did have one oily experience after cheating with some chinese food, but you know it kept me right back on track. I never want it to happen again... so I dont eat crap.

Vicky said...

I have had absoloutely none of the side effects described, I was dubious at first as I didn't want any "accidents" but I have been fine. I do admit that the fact I take it makes me feel better about myself, However tried to buy it from a chemist they would refuse to sell it to me as I have a BMI of 20.3 and weigh 123lbs. For me I need to feel like I'm doing EVERYTHING possible to fight the flab so along side working out everyday, having a personal trainer, dieting and a few other things alli is essential to my every day routine