URI Today

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pharmacy researcher finds most popular weight-loss drug alters drug therapy

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Michael Salerno

A University of Rhode Island pharmacy researcher has discovered that the weight-loss drug orlistat, known by the brand names Xenical and Alli, inhibits a key enzyme that may lead to “severe toxicity of internal organs such as the liver and kidney.” The inhibition is irreversible and can be caused by a low level of the drug.

Professor Bingfang Yan’s study funded by the National Institutes of Health, also found that the drug alters efficacy of medicines, and particularly limits the effectiveness of some anti-cancer drugs.

“Since it has been available over–the-counter, there has been a drastic increase of toxicity among patients using the drug,” Yan said. “It has been linked to severe liver failure...

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