Xenical: Biochemical 'jaw-wiring'

WASHINGTON - The FDA will make a final decision on the marketing application for Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.'s Xenical obesity drug within a month, according to James Bilstad, chief of metabolic drugs at the agency.

Bilstad's comment followed a unanimous recommendation for Xenical's approval last week by the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee.

Xenical (orlistat), which blocks fat absorption in the large intestine, would be the first approved diet drug that directly affects the metabolism of food. The first drug approved for obesity, Redux dexfenfluramine developed by Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IPIC, Lexington, Mass.) and marketed by Weyth-Ayerst, suppresses the

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