New research shows concern that two popular weight loss drugs, Alli and Xenical, may cause liver damage. On Monday, August 24, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating recent reports that these drugs may be causing liver damage in those who take them.
To date, there have been 30 reported cases of liver damage by those who take Alli, the only non-prescription weight loss drug the FDA has approved, and Xenical, its prescription counterpart. Of the 30 reports, 27 individuals have been hospitalized and six of them have experienced liver failure.
Both drugs are marketed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC, but Xenical is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Roche.
Proponents of the medications including a spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline state that the liver damage may have nothing at all to do with Alli or Xenical use, but rather since liver disorders are common in those who are overweight or obese, these specific liver damage cases are likely due to excess body weight thereby predisposing them to such liver-related conditions.
While the FDA is carefully looking into these cases and determining how direct or indirect the link is between these two drugs and liver damage, the regulatory agency is encouraging all Alli and Xenical users to continue to use their medication according to their doctor’s guidance and to take careful notice of any early signs of liver damage which include nausea, unexplained fatigue, fever and vomiting. If any such signs are experienced, the individual should contact their medical provider as soon as possible.
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