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A new diet drug has hit the shelves with the FDA’s approval, but users may want to be wary of the side effects. Alli, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, is supposed to help people lose 50% more weight than other dietary supplements.

Alli blocks enzymes that digest fat, preventing the body from absorbing about a quarter of the fat eaten. The undigested fat is then excreted. One study of Alli showed that dieters who took the drug along with diet and exercise over a year lost about three pounds more than people who only dieted and exercised.

This drug is a low-dose version of the prescription-only drug Xenical which has been on the market since 1999.

Doctors say that the drug will help people lose weight, but if users eat foods high in fat they will definitely feel the side effects.

Side effects include oily discharge, diarrhea, and uncontrollable bowel movements. Many patients who took Xenical did not end up refilling their prescriptions because they could not handle the side effects.

There have also been claims by the non-profit group Public Citizen, that the drug may increase the risk of colon cancer. The drug has been shown in studies to cause precancerous lesions in the colons of mice.

The FDA responded to the group by saying that there is not enough evidence linking Alli to colon cancer to not approve the drug.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section related to Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.

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