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Diet Drugs Alli and Xenical Linked To Kidney Injury

A new study based on 953 new users of orlistat reported a link in increase kidney injuries. Orlistat is the active ingredient in the diet drugs Alli and Xenical and works by inhibiting the absorption of fat in the gut.

It was found that 0.5 percent of new orlistat users were hospitalized for kidney problems in the year before starting on the drug and over the next year that number jumped to 2 percent.  Dr. Matthew Weir, who worked on the study, said a few earlier case reports had found kidney problems in people on Xenical, but that it wasn’t listed among the drug’s side effects. “This study should be interpreted cautiously as it is observational and cannot prove causality” he added.

Last year U.S. health officials warned about liver damage in patients on Xenical and Alli.

This is another blow to diet drugs yet Alli’s global sales totaled about $317 million in 2009 and Xenical’s worldwide sales hit about $345 million in the same year.

“I think the take-home message should be that patients on orlistat should have their kidney function carefully monitored,” Weir said, “but since orlistat is available (over-the-counter) in the US, this may be easier said than done.”

2 Responses to “Diet Drugs Alli and Xenical Linked To Kidney Injury”

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  2. James Hamilton says:

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