Orlistat 60 mg reduces visceral adipose tissue: a 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Sep;19(9):1796-803. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.143. Epub 2011 Jun 30.


It is well established that abdominal obesity or upper body fat distribution is associated with increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. The purpose of the present study was to determine if a 24 week weight loss program with orlistat 60 mg in overweight subjects would produce a greater change in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) as measured by computed tomography (CT) scan, compared to placebo. The effects of orlistat 60 mg on changes in total fat mass (EchoMRI-AH and BIA), ectopic fat (CT) and glycemic variables were assessed. One-hundred thirty-one subjects were randomized into a multicenter, double-blind placebo controlled study in which 123 subjects received at least one post baseline efficacy measurement (intent-to-treat population). Both orlistat-and placebo-treated subjects significantly decreased their VAT at 24 weeks with a significantly greater loss of VAT by orlistat treated subjects (-15.7% vs. -9.4%, P < 0.05). In addition, orlistat-treated subjects had significantly greater weight loss (-5.93 kg vs. -3.94 kg, P < 0.05), total fat mass loss (-4.65 kg vs. -3.01 kg, P < 0.05) and trended to a greater loss of intermuscular adipose tissue and content of liver fat compared with placebo-treated subjects. This is the first study to demonstrate that orlistat 60 mg significantly reduces VAT in addition to total body fat compared to placebo treated subjects after a 24 week weight loss program. These results suggest that orlistat 60 mg may be an effective weight loss tool to reduce metabolic risk factors associated with abdominal obesity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / drug effects
  • Adult
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / drug effects*
  • Lactones / administration & dosage
  • Lactones / adverse effects
  • Lactones / therapeutic use*
  • Lipase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscles / drug effects
  • Orlistat
  • Overweight / diet therapy
  • Overweight / drug therapy*
  • Overweight / pathology
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Lactones
  • Orlistat
  • Lipase