As the new “super drug” Alli hits the stores in the US, many people are asking if the treatment is right for them, and what exactly can it do. It seems that the fact the drug is now available Over The Counter (OTC) has opened up a market perhaps far greater than GlaxoSmithkline had original thought. It is not only obesity sufferers are looking towards the treatment, but people who are “borderline” obese, with the potential for future problems. We may be entering a phase of preventative medicine rather than reactive medicine, but is it right and will it have the same impact?
Are Alli Tablets Right For Me?
Pharmacies up and down the US have reported large sales of Alli, perhaps more to do with the hype which has been in the press for the last 3 or 4 months than anything else. There have been some major sales pushes in the US especially, playing on the fact that it is the only OTC treatment for obesity, and the relatively cheap price of the drugs. Available in 60g dosage, 50 capsules have been priced at $50, 90 capsules at $60 and a 120 capsule pack at $69.99. It seems that the distributors are targeting the long term market by using such a pricing structure.
What Can Alli Do For You?
The positive, and negative side effects of Alli have been well covered in both the medical and traditional press. On the positive side the treatment has been shown to have a substantial impact on weight loss, almost immediately. Human trials showed a significant weight loss above and beyond that of traditional diets, which is in the main due to the immediate 30% reduction in the intake of fatty food elements into the body. By reducing the initial intake the body needs to draw more energy from the existing fat content in the body, thereby instigating an immediate reduction even if no change to the users exercise or dietary regimes.
However, it has been stated by many that the drug should be considered as only part of a long term goal for obesity suffers. It is strongly advised that a change in dietary and exercise habits should be instigated as soon as possible, with many Alli users expected to receive a natural boost from a greater self esteem. Unless significant changes are made to the users long term habits, there is the potential for weight gain as soon as the treatment ends (although there has been no official guidance as to any potential longer term side effects).
On the negative side, many media companies and internet sites have picked up on the rather embarrassing side effects. These include oily stools, increased flatulence and the possibility of sudden and uncontrollable bowel movements in the early days of use. However, the impact of these side effects can easily be reduced by a reduction in the intake of fatty content in the users diet. Official guidance suggests a fatty intake of no more than 15g per meal in order avoid the majority of the side effects.
While these side effects are unfortunate and can be very embarrassing for users, they will be more predominant at the beginning of the treatment and should reduce naturally (and even more so with a change in the users lifestyle).
As the popularity of the treatment becomes more and more apparent it seems that many of the medical and popular press have missed what may yet turn out to be one of the larger impacts which Alli can have on much of the population – a rise in the “feel good factor”. It has been common knowledge in the medical world that one of the most expensive and potentially harmful conditions for the public can be depression.
Depression is often linked to a personal “feel good factor” and how the person feels about themselves. This vicious circle of depression, comfort eating and a reluctance to integrate with the rest of society has often been at the heart of many obesity suffers. Breaking this cycle of depression, increased weight gain and further depression is vital not only to the suffer, but also the many health organisations and economies around the world. This condition costs millions and millions of dollars around the world in lost working hours, and emergency medical treatments – but perhaps the tide is turning?
Are There Any Medical Guidelines?
While there are no strict medical guidelines, GlaxoSmithkline have advised that Alli should only be used by people who have a Body Mass Index of 25 and upwards. This is the calculation which involves taking the persons weight and height and calculating their BMI. Officially a BMI of 30 and over is classified as obese, but there is some gain to be made for people with a BMI of between 25 and 30.
As highlighted earlier in this article it is also advisable to consider Alli in conjunction with a long term change in the users lifestyle. Seen by many as a “wonder drug”, GlaxoSmithkline are keen to emphasise the importance of increased exercise and healthier dietary habits in order to receive the best long term benefits.
While we have seen all of the headlines of late regarding high sales and Alli literally “flying off the shelves”, there is a growing awareness of the greater benefits of Alli in relation to breaking the cycle of depression and over eating. This is perhaps something that will interest worldwide governments once the hype and smoke has cleared after the launch.
Even though we have seen many weight loss “treatments” come and go, with many shown to be ineffective or potentially harmful in the past, Alli really is different. This none surgical treatment physically stops the body form producing the enzymes which allow fat to be absorbed into the body, an effect which will be turned off as soon as treatment is stopped.
It is perhaps this fact more than any other which prompted the US Food and Drugs Administration to approve the treatment for OTC distribution. It will be interesting to see whether the reported side effects have any impact on longer term sales, although it seems that for many, the benefits of weight loss far out weigh these side effects.