To determine the metabolic profile of minimally absorbed orlistat in obese/overweight patients, an open-label, single-dose study was performed in eight obese/overweight volunteers between 23 and 68 years of age. Each subject received a single oral dose of 360 mg orlistat containing approximately 400 muCi of 14C-labeled orlistat. Serial blood samples were collected at specified times over 10 hours after administration of orlistat for determination of total radioactivity, unchanged orlistat, and major metabolites in the plasma. Urine samples were collected over 24 hours and analyzed to evaluate the urinary recovery of total radioactivity and the profile of orlistat metabolites in the urine. In addition, all fecal samples were collected and analyzed for total radioactivity. Urinary and fecal recovery of the administered dose of total radioactivity were 1.13 +/- 0.50% (24-hour data only) and 96.4 +/- 18.1% (n = 7), respectively. Maximum observed concentration (Cmax) and time to Cmax (tmax) values of plasma total radioactivity were 150 +/- 51 ng.eq/mL and 6.8 +/- 1.5 hrs, respectively. All these parameters obtained in obese/ overweight subjects were similar to those reported previously in healthy subjects. On the basis of the area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 10 hours (AUC0-10), two major metabolites comprise a total of approximately 42% of the total radioactivity in plasma. The primary metabolite (M1) has a short half-life (approximately 2 hours), whereas the secondary metabolite (M3) disappeared at a slower rate. No strikingly apparent difference in the urinary metabolic profile was observed between two gender groups. It is concluded that the disposition of orlistat appears to be similar between normal and obese/overweight subjects. Of the minimal fraction of the dose that was absorbed systemically, the presence of two major metabolites accounts for approximately 42%.