New obesity drug tested in Canada

A new drug that promises to help obese people lose weight is being tested in a clinical trial in Canada. “Xenical” will be evaluated in a study with 264 people at 26 locations across Canada. Xenical is the first in a new class of medications called “pancreatic lipase inhibitors”, which work in the intestine to prevent the absorption of about 30 per cent of dietary fat. The drug is now under review with Health Canada’s Therapeutics Products Directorate, and is not yet available here.

The trial will compare the effectiveness of combining Xenical, a mild calorie-reduced diet and patient support against another trial of Xenical and diet alone. The patient support program is designed to motivate obese patients to make changes in their lifestyle and eating patterns to lose weight and keep it off over the long term.

Obesity is a complex disease caused by numerous factors including high fat intake, poor eating habits, low levels of physical activity, low resting metabolic rate, genetic makeup, hormones and environmental factors.

Xenical is currently available in 15 countries around the world, in Europe, South America and New Zealand. The drug is also being studied for its impacon patients with Type 2 diabetes.