ICO: OTC Weight Loss Products No Better Than Placebo

Seven products result in weight loss, but not statistically different from that seen with placebo
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss remedies are no better than placebo at helping people lose weight, according to a study presented at the International Congress on Obesity, held from July 11 to 15 in Stockholm, Sweden.

To evaluate the effectiveness of weight loss remedies, Thomas Ellrot, M.D., of the University of Göttingen in Germany, and colleagues randomized 189 participants with a body mass index of 25 to 35 kg/m² to either one of nine common OTC weight loss products purchased from German pharmacies, or placebo. The labeled active ingredients in the weight loss products were polyglucosamide, cabbage powder, Konjak extract, sodiumalginate-complex, bean concentrate, selected plant extracts, L-Carnitine, fiber formulation, and Guarana seed powder.

After eight weeks, in the 74 percent of participants who completed the trial, the researchers found no significant difference in weight loss between those taking OTC products and those taking placebo, though significant weight loss was recorded for seven OTC products and placebo (average of 1.05 to 1.99 kg and 1.21 kg, respectively).

"All tested OTC products for weight reduction showed no better efficacy than placebo. Given an indication for pharmacologically-supported weight management, application of Orlistat, a medication with proven efficacy and safety, should be considered instead," the authors conclude.

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