Low-dose orlistat effects on body weight of mildly to moderately overweight individuals: a 16 week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

James W Anderson, Susan M Schwartz, Jonathan Hauptman, Mark Boldrin, Maureen Rossi, Vidhu Bansal, Cecilia A Hale
Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2006, 40 (10): 1717-23

BACKGROUND: Lifestyle measures are considered the first line of therapy for treating overweight individuals, but many are unable to achieve a meaningful weight loss.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy and safety of orlistat 60 mg, given 3 times daily, for weight loss in mildly to moderately overweight individuals.

METHODS: A multicenter, 16 week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 391 overweight subjects at 20 US centers. The main outcome measure was change in weight from baseline to week 16; secondary measures included changes in body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, and fasting lipoprotein and glucose levels.

RESULTS: Subjects in both groups lost weight over the treatment period; however, orlistat-treated subjects lost significantly more weight than placebo-treated subjects beyond 2 weeks of treatment. Weight loss from baseline to week 16 was significantly greater in participants receiving orlistat versus those receiving placebo (3.05 vs 1.90 kg; p < 0.001, intent-to-treat analysis). Orlistat-treated subjects who completed 16 weeks of treatment lost 4.8 +/- 0.35% (mean +/- SE) of baseline weight compared with 3.1 +/- 0.38% for the placebo group (p < 0.001). Orlistat-treated subjects, compared with those receiving placebo, also demonstrated a greater relative reduction in total (-4.4% vs 0.0%; p = 0.004) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (-7.2% vs -0.6%; p = 0.005) and both diastolic (-3.9% vs -0.5%; p = 0.001) and systolic blood pressure (-4.7% vs -1.8%; p = 0.004). Both groups showed a similar safety profile; gastrointestinal events were significantly more common in the orlistat-treated subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of orlistat 60 mg by mildly to moderately overweight individuals produced significant weight loss in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet and self-instructional materials. This amount of weight loss was associated with improvements in several weight-related risk factors. Orlistat 60 mg may be a useful adjunct to lifestyle measures and has the potential to contribute significantly to weight and risk factor improvement for overweight individuals.

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