Popular Diet Drug May Be The Cause For Permanent Kidney And Liver Damage

A recently released study warns us about the risk of damaged liver, kidney and other organs caused by some of the popular weight loss medicines available today.

The National Institute of Health funded a study in the University of Rhode Island. The study revealed that orlistat, which comes in the form of two famous diet drugs – Alli, which is available over the counter, and the prescription drug Xenical – may cause harm and “severe toxicity” to many internal organs.

Bingfan Yan, the pharmacology professor who conducted the research saw the results to be worrying enough to immediately report his findings to the FDA, even though FDA had approved orlistat back in 1999.

While kidney and liver damage are already quite serious, another finding was reported by Yan’s team. It was found that the metabolic action of orlistat makes many medications less effective and that includes cancer treatments that are meant to be life saving. Even worse, researchers said that orlistat made cancer cells multiply even faster. The anti-clotting properties of aspirin were also influenced by orlistat in a way that it created a risk of external and internal bleeding.

The research team found Orlistat to limit how carboxylesterase-2 functions. This key enzyme is important in detoxifying kidneys, liver and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract. This might result in internal organs ending up severely toxic.

The findings of this study were published in Biochemical Pharmacology, more details were issued in a public announcement by the University of Rhode Island.

A few years ago, in 2010, FDA released a warning for Alli and Xenical indicating the possibility of liver toxicity. In this warning, only “rare reports” were described, however, the new study indicates that the problem is much deeper. The data by FDA said that there have been only 13 incidences of liver damage caused by Orlistat.

In 2007 Alli (containint orlistat) became available without a prescription, ever since then it has become a lot more popular. On the official MyAlli website, the manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline notifies users about the label change of 2010 and has included a company statement that confirms that Alli is safe. There is no mention yet of the recent report. Alli contains 60mg of orlistat while Xenical, which is available by prescription only, contains 120 mg.

Orlistat blocks an enzyme – lipase – that is responsible for digesting fat. This way some of the fat that is left undigested passes through the body and is not absorbed. However, the problem is right there – since it can have an effect on one enzyme, it can do the same with others.


  1. Aj Carrillo says:

    nice job,still didnt see the need to lose wait u looked good with it on
    aswell,but still great job!

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