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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