Thursday, June 14, 2007

Alli-oop! (or more like alli-poop!)

I'm a bit out of the loop of the happenings in the drug world in the US of A. Let me clarify that by saying once I was very IN the loop of the drug world. In a past pre-European life, I was a pharmacy technician at... you guessed it... Walgreens! (is there any other pharmacy?) Yes, I was a pharmacy technician for 5 years, doing 4 years of time at Wags on Mac in Springfield (hi Teena!) and 1 year of time at Wags on Van in Edwardsville.

But even being as far out of the loop as I am I still didn't miss the news of "Alli" coming out as an over-the-counter (doesn't require a prescription) diet pill. I've read different release dates from different sources but the fact of the matter is that it's coming... full speed ahead.

I actually remember when "Alli" came out as a prescription drug. Under the brand name of Xenical (generic name: Orlistat) it's release into the drug world went fairly well. At least for the first month. It wasn't very long before I had patients coming into the pharmacy advising me to please tell the next patient who gets the prescription filled to make a stop in aisle 8 and grab a bag of Depends.

Apparently a common and fun side effect of "Alli" is a case of the squirts. To quote Wikipedia one of Alli's side effects is:

"Because orlistat's main effect is to prevent dietary fat from being absorbed the fat is excreted unchanged in the feces and so the stool may become oily or loose (steatorrhea). Increased flatulence is also common. Bowel movements may become frequent or urgent, and rare occurrences of fecal incontinence have been seen in clinical trials."

Now doesn't THAT sound like a fun time? Just show me where I can sign up!

It wasn't just one patient who would come in to advise of their "Alli-poops"... it was multiple patients talking about their bowels. One woman advised me that she was carrying around a spare pair of pants with her at all times in case she ate a meal that was fattier than she had thought. I knew more about the feces of my patients than I ever wanted to, really.

So what is the appeal of this diet drug? Well it actually does what it claims to do. It doesn't allow your body to absorb a portion of your fat intake, therefore lessening your over all calories for the day. This is to be used in conjunction with a low-fat reduced calorie diet. HMMM....

If I could stick to a low-fat, reduced calorie diet then I wouldn't necessarily need the poopy-pill would I? I mean reducing fat and calories is what losing weight is all about, isn't it? So how are they actually proving that this pill is aiding in the weight loss and it's not just the efforts of the poor sucker who's running around with an over sized diaper on, hoping that the crackling sound from the plastic panties isn't noticeable.

Maybe the pill is supposed to be a deterrent from fatty foods? I mean, it would work that way for me. I pop a pill in the morning and all day long just knowing that if I eat something greasy I could have an oil leak would be enough for me to say "pass the carrot sticks". Who would dare eat greasy food knowing that this could possibly happen to them?

I'll tell you who... tons of people who are desperate to lose weight, are uneducated about the possible side effects and who don't read the fine print. Or better yet, they read the fine print but don't think it will happen to them. Have you ever read the possible side effects on a bottle of anything that you're prescribed? The list is always about a mile long and they're all pretty grim possibilities.

The fact is that no matter how gross and disturbing the side effects may be there are going to be people in line waiting for this Alli to be put on the shelf. I'm grabbing my popcorn and sitting back to watch the "coming out" party. This is gonna be better than Ellens!

(I know some of my readers are out of Oz. I'm interested in hearing your take on this pill.)


Sara said...

ew! Anal leakage is definitely not part of my idea of a healthy person!

Maurey Pierce said...

Hee hee ... I just read your tick post. Glad you recovered it.

I was just talking to a co-worker of mine about this pill. It makes me nervous for a couple of reasons—one, I think every size six who wants to be a size two might go out and buy it; and two, if I wanted to loose weight through violent pooping, I'd stick with the less-expensive Ex-Lax!!


There's still only one prescription for weight loss that's tried and true.

Erin said...

I was thinking that about this pill too! As with most of the diet pills, the fine print always states the miracle pill that works "with a healthy diet and exercise". Well, then what's the point of the pill then? Heck, I found popping my birth control everyday to be a pain, I certainly wouldn't want to add more to the mix if I didn't have too (and especially with all those "bonusses"!). I'm sticking with my modified food plan and exercise. Tastes better than a pill anyway;)

Ellen said...

Seriously gross! That whole "anal leakage" thing is what always kept us away from snacks with Olestra, the fake fat that could cause those same surprises. Once I got this chocolate that was "low-fat", not realizing it was a similar fat replacement. I ate a bunch of it and ugh. That was back in college when I was all about the gimic. Apple cider vinegar pills anyone? Now I'm on to saner things :)

Anonymous said...

I have been taking Alli for several months now, and yes it can have some side effects. But I have never pooped myself. It forces you to watch what you eat. And if you don't, then you have to suffer the consiquences. I know this is a very controversial diet pill, but I am thankful for it!

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Anonymous said...

this is messed up!

I've been taking it two days and just noticed a stain on my chair and when i went to the loo, i saw some oily liquid in the bowl.

after some cleaning I'm very wary of taking this pill after a fatty meal (i did have a greasy fry up lunch. so my bad!)

frickin gross...

Anonymous said...

OK. Have to admit the nastiness. Took the pill three times with meals that were not fatty at all. I mean rice, or a boiled egg, peanut butter toast on whole wheat. Those kinds of things. I hadn't taken in since 6am on Friday, at a cheeseburger at 1, and now Saturday morning. I cannot control things if you know what I mean.

Will I use Alli again? Not sure. Because, yes, it does make you more concious of what you are eating, but I am not sure if I am educated or disciplined enough to watch it that close.

So today, I have went through two changes of clothes, had to clean my desk chair, and I have confined myself to my house. Im just thankful it didnt happen in public!!

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Anonymous said...

the point of alli is to teach you how to change your eating habits. when taking alli if you eat over 10g of fat per meal, side effects occur.

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