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The BBC's Navdip Dhariwal
"One in five adults in Britain is currently clinically obese"
 real 56k

Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
New drug to beat obesity
Obese man
One in five Britons is clinically obese
A new slimming drug, launched on the UK market, will have a dramatic effect on the health of the nation, say doctors.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the UK with nearly one in five people being classed as obese.

But hopes are high that sibutramine, known also as Reductil, will help even more people to cut down their weight and protect themselves from potentially fatal illness.

Dr Ian Campbell, a Nottingham GP took part in the drug trial, said Reductil was vital in helping his clinically obese patients to slim.

Being obese is not a lifestyle choice. It is sometimes a question of life and death

Dr Ian Campbell

Weight reduction

"It is extremely valuable in helping me to help patients lose weight.

"We know that obesity is a major problem and it carries with it the risk of diseases like strokes, heart disease and diabetes.

"Reductil helps me to reduce these risks and improve patients' well-being."

Dr Ian Campbell
Dr Ian Campbell says Reductil is vital to help obese patients

Reductil works by suppressing the appetite. It increases the speed at which the body feels full and this encourages weight loss.

Another slimming drug Orlistat, or Xenical as it better known, works by inhibiting the break down and absorption of fat in the body.

Xenical has recently given the green light by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) who have agreed that extremely obese adults who have already lost at least 2.5 kg by dieting will be allowed it.

And Dr Campbell said slimming pills like Reductil and Xenical are vital choices to help patients for whom all other choices have failed.

"Being obese is not a lifestyle choice. It is sometimes a question of life and death.

"What we are trying to do is to help people who are at risk of life threatening disease to improve their health now."

Effective treatment

Dr Susan Jebb, deputy chair of the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) said: "Sibutramine represents another step forward in providing effective treatment for obese patients who are at greatly increased risk of ill health from a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and arthritis."

One woman told the BBC she had lost seven stones over a year after taking Reductil.

Overweight woman
Losing weight can protect against disease

She said that after having two children she weighed 19 stones and felt far too fat.

None of her clothes fitted and she became too embarrassed to go out and socialise with friends or play with her children.

"I had no confidence and low self-esteem. I would not go anywhere. I had no life.

"Now I am never at home. I have much more of a social life and I swim regularly and do lots with my children."

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See also:

17 May 01 | Health
Obesity link to cancer
22 Mar 00 | Health
Obesity clue to cancer rise
10 Jul 00 | Health
Warning over UK obesity levels
30 Mar 01 | Health
Obesity 'starts in the womb'
09 Mar 01 | Health
'How obesity drug helped me'
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