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Will Xenical Be Sold Over The Counter?

Next month, the FDA will review GlaxoSmithKline's application for a 60-milligram version of orlistat -- better known as Xenical -- the first prescription obesity drug that may soon be sold over-the-counter (OTC).

Chances are good Xenical won't be approved on its first application, and even a hint of trouble could kill Glaxo's application completely, according to one OTC expert. Let's hope so, considering the drug could be ripe for abuse among adults and teens suffering from crippling eating disorders.

Already available in Australia and New Zealand drug stores (under the guidance of a pharmacist), a 120-milligram prescription dose of Xenical works to block the absorption of fat in the intestines. Combined with cutting 600 calories a day, studies have shown patients who take Xenical can lose 5-10 percent of their body weight in six months.

Why would anyone need an OTC version of an already health-harming drug, when eating the right foods based on your body's unique nutritional type and getting the right amount of exercise daily can do the same thing more effectively and safely?

Those healthier options have nothing to do with selling drugs or potentially deadly medical procedures like gastric bypass.

USA Today December 15, 2005

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