Live

Watch CBSN Live

FDA Approves New Diet Drug

Angel Beck gained weight after having her third child and couldn't lose it until she shed 45 pounds in one year on Xenical, a new diet drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin reports.

"I was able to get into clothes I hadn't gotten into for years and it was just a whole new outlook on life," Beck said.

Angel's doctor, Steven Heymsfield, oversaw clinical trials of Xenical and describes as a breakthrough in the long fight against obesity.

"It's the first drug that effectively blocks fat absorption from the body and produces significant long-term weight loss and weight maintenance as well for up to two years," Heymsfield said.

Xenical works in the digestive tract. Normally, fat is broken down by enzymes and then absorbed into the intestines. Xenical blocks the enzymes that break down fat, allowing the fat to pass through the system undigested.

Unlike previous diet drugs like Redux and Fen Fen, which have been banned from the market for causing heart-valve damage, Xenical never enters the bloodstream. Taking it can cause minor gastrointestinal problems, but obesity experts like Dr. Louis Aronne are confident it is safe.

"This drug has no dangerous side effects. That's the great thing about it," Aronne said.

The downside is that Xenical is not a license to eat all the fatty foods you want. It must be taken in conjunction with a low-fat diet and exercise program. And if you take it and it works, you may be taking it for life.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue