Orlistat of No Help in Fatty Liver DiseaseJan 19, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
A new study has found that fat absorption inhibitor Orlitast does not seem to help patients with Fatty Liver Disease (FLD), its targeted demographic. Science Daily explained that a new randomized, prospective trial revealed Orlistat not only does not help patients suffering from FLD lose weight, it does not improve those patients’ liver enzymes or insulin resistance.
MedPageToday further explained that the study found no improvement in hepatic outcomes in patients with nonalcoholic FLD when Orlistat was added to a lower-calorie diet. Nonalcoholic FLD is a possible outcome of obesity, said MedPageToday.
It seems that with rising, worldwide obesity, FLD has become more prevalent. As a matter-of-fact, enzymes and fat levels in the liver improve with weight loss and study participants who lost five or more percent of their body weight in a nine-month time frame saw improvement in these levels, said Science Daily. But, because many find diet and exercise daunting in their quest for a healthy body, many have turned to medications such as Orlistat, which is sold as prescription Xenical and over-the-counter (OTC) Alli.
The research team was led by U.S. Army hepatologist—of the Brooks Army Medical Center—Stephen A. Harrison, and looked at a random group of 50 overweight patients. All patients were diagnosed with FLD—proven via liver biopsy and evaluation—and the study looked at Orlistat and caloric restriction. The study followed the subjects for 36 weeks; participants followed a 1,400 calorie diet and took one multivitamin and vitamin E each day, said Science Daily, which also explained that random patients also took 120 mg of Orlistat three daily with meals.
Another liver biopsy was conducted following the 36 weeks, which looked for fat level and fibrosis score improvements and changes in areas such as fasting insulin and glucose, liver enzymes, lipid panel vitamin E, and free fatty acid levels, reported Science Daily. “Comparing the Orlistat group to the nonOrlistat group at study completion, no significant differences were identified between the two groups for mean weight loss, serum, insulin resistance, or cholesterol,” Science Daily quoted the team as stating. Also, liver biopsy findings revealed no significant differences.
According to Dr. Harrison and colleagues, the so-called “meager” Orlistat benefits mirror those seen in prior research, which found Orlistat did not increase the weight loss realized with lifestyle modifications alone, said WebPageToday. Because of this, the team revisited its findings, comparing those who weight and found an association between weight loss and liver improvement. “In conclusion, while this preliminary study does not demonstrate a weight loss advantage with the use of Orlistat, it does demonstrate that moderate weight loss is associated with significant improvements in the symptoms of FLD,” the researchers said, reported Science Daily.
MedPageToday noted that weight loss can reverse nonalcoholic FLD; however, prior to the study, it was unclear how much weight loss would cause the reversal. The study found that reversal occurred when a nine percent body weight loss was achieved. The researchers also looked at cell injury since such injury has been linked to fibrosis; weight loss was not found to improve fibrosis levels.