A slimming pill that can help people lose weight quickly is about to become available to the public in a few months.
The product is called Alli and works by preventing the body from taking in fat from food. According to the trials, the consumers lost around 10lb in six months.
The medical regulating bodies in Europe have approved the product and it is expected to be launched in pharmacies by the beginning of summer.
According to the manufacturer of the product GlaxoSmithKline, the approval of the drug to be sold without prescription is ‘a significant milestone’, since it is the first product in this field which will be accessible to the public without medical advice.
The participants of the product trials who took the pill daily every time they consumed food, lost about 50 per cent more than those who decided to shift weight naturally. However, there were cases when the dieters shed more than five stone of excess weight.
An average decrease in weight of 10lb roughly equals dropping one dress size.
However, the new product does have side effects. Due to the body not being able to get rid of undigested fat, consumers of the drug are more likely to experience wind and diarrhoea. Moreover, Alli is thought to prevent the absorption of some vitamins and therefore it is necessary for consumers to take vitamins daily.
The product, which is a much weaker version of prescription slimming pill Xenical, will be accessible to anyone whose body mass index is higher than 28. An individual with a BMI between 25 and 29 is considered overweight and someone with a BMI higher than 30 is categorised as obese.
The drug, which will be available in all major pharmacies, has already accumulated £400 million in US sales during the first year of production.
Its price is yet to be fixed, but in the U.S., where it has been on sale for over a year, it costs around £1 a day. Glaxo has stressed that the pill, taken three times a day, is designed to enhance rather than replace the benefits of diet and exercise.
‘Consumers are spending millions of pounds each year on fad diets, unproven “miracle pills” and potentially unsafe weight loss supplements,’ commented chairman of the National Obesity Forum Dr David Haslam.
‘Medically proven licensed products give consumers the option of something which can genuinely support meaningful weight loss,’ he explained.
However, doubts have been raised over the effectiveness of the drug without trial conditions.
Gareth Williams, who is the editor of a book called Obesity: Science to Practice, claims that changing lifestyle habits can bring the same results as slimming pills.
‘Don’t eat between meals, leave out food that’s obviously full of fat or sugar and get half an hour’s walking exercise a day. That’s all you need to do,’ he advised.