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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