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Back To Vidyya Xenical® Gains Approval From The National Institute For Clinical Excellence (NICE) In Britain

Drug Used For Weight Management In Overweight And Obese Patients

Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that Xenical® (orlistat), a weight management treatment manufactured by Hoffmann-La Roche Limited, be reimbursed by the National Health Service (NHS) for weight management in overweight and obese patients. This landmark decision highlights the importance Britain places on treating excess weight as a serious medical condition, and underscores the worldwide obesity epidemic.

Xenical is a unique weight management treatment that prevents fat from being absorbed in the gut. Xenical not only helps patients lose weight, it encourages them to adopt healthier eating habits, thereby helping them maintain their weight loss.

An estimated 100 million people around the world are clinically overweight, with the annual number rising so fast that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared that obesity is a global epidemic. Such an epidemic poses a serious threat to public health due to the increased risk of associated health problems, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and hypertension(1). According to the National Population Health Survey (NPHS) in Canada, 59 percent of males and 37 percent of females are overweight. In the US some 60% of the adult population and ever growing percentages of the youth population are overweight with one quarter of all Americans obese. In addition, a substantially greater proportion of people with diabetes are overweight, compared to the general population. The NPHS and NHANES studies in the US and Canada identify an overall trend to increasing obesity in those countries.

Commenting on the decision, Dr. Laird Birmingham, Medical Director, Eating Disorder Program, St. Paul's Hospital, British Columbia Provincial Director for Eating Disorders and Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia, said "As the number of people who are overweight or obese continues to rise in Canada, it is imperative that we do something to address the significant burden this will inevitably cause our healthcare systems. Obesity is a serious medical issue that requires treatment."

A five percent reduction in weight can result in significant health care improvements, which in turn can translate into a reduced burden on healthcare systems(1). Studies with Xenical have demonstrated that twice as many patients taking Xenical achieve ten percent weight loss compared with diet alone. In overweight and obese patients who also suffer from type 2 diabetes, its use is associated with significant improvements in blood sugar control. Additional data have also shown that Xenical can improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as serum lipid profiles and blood pressure(2,3,4).

Xenical has been available in US and Canada since mid-1999. It is an effective and safe therapy that not only helps patients lose weight, but also helps them maintain their weight loss. It is the only available weight loss medication that works locally in the gut to prevent dietary fat absorption by about 30 percent. Xenical is well tolerated, and unlike other weight loss medications, it does not act on the central nervous system. In clinical trials, people taking Xenical in conjunction with a mildly reduced calorie diet have shown twice as much weight loss as diet alone. Xenical is covered by a number of private insurance companies as a viable and effective treatment option available to assist people in losing weight.


1. Goldstein DJ. Beneficial health effects of modest weight loss.

International Journal of Obesity, 1992, 16:397-415.

2. Kelley D, Effect of orlistat in overweight type 2 diabetic patients

receiving insulin. Roche Satellite Symposium Abstract book; 18.

International Diabetes Federation Congress, Mexico City,

November 5 - 10, 2000.

3. Hollander PA et al. Diabetes Care 1998, 21: 1288-94.

4. Miles J, Role of orlistat (Xenical) in overweight metformin-treated

type 2 diabetes patients. Roche Satellite Symposium Abstract book;

11-12. 17th International Diabetes Federation Congress, Mexico City,

November 5 - 10, 2000.

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