FDA OKs over-the-counter fat-blocking drug

GlaxoSmithKline will manufacture OTC orlistat capsules for overweight adults.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it approved an over-the-counter weight loss drug for overweight adults.

Orlistat capsules, which help weight loss by decreasing the absorption of fat, were initially approved in 1999 as a prescription drug to treat obesity.

GlaxoSmithKline (Charts) will make the over-the-counter version under the name Alli. The drug will be geared towards people over 18, with recommendations for a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet and exercise program.

"We know that being overweight has many adverse consequences, including an increase in the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes," Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

"OTC orlistat, along with diet and exercise, may aid overweight adults who seek to lose excess weight to improve their health."

The FDA said orlistat is not for people who have problems absorbing food or who are not overweight.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.