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Orlistat improves endothelial function in obese adolescents: A randomised trial


  • The trial is registered at Centre for Clinical Trial, CUHK, <>, number: CUHK_CCT00135.
  • Conflicts of interest: The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.



To investigate the effect of orlistat on endothelial function in obese adolescents.


Single-blind 10-week controlled trial of 67 normolipidaemic obese adolescents randomised into three groups. Group 1 (diet alone), Group 2 (diet and orlistat), Group 3 (diet, orlistat and exercise). Endothelial function measured by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery, anthropometric parameters, blood pressure, fasting blood lipids, insulin and glucose levels were recorded at baseline and at 10 weeks.


Sixty four subjects completed the study. Groups were comparable at baseline. FMD increased significantly with orlistat (Groups 2 and 3) but not in Group 1. Orlistat treatment resulted in significantly reduced bodyweight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were unchanged. Triglyceride and insulin levels were significantly reduced in all three groups. The reduction in cholesterols did not correlate with reductions in weight and BMI. A slight reduction of body fat, both with and without orlistat treatment, correlated with reduction in BMI after adjustment for baseline values. Blood pressure was unaltered by orlistat. Calorie intake was reduced with orlistat, and the decrease noted in % fat and increase in % carbohydrate was significant only in those taking orlistat. The addition of exercise (Group 3 compared with Group 2) altered no parameter.


Orlistat improves endothelial function and reduces bodyweight, BMI, fasting total and LDL-cholesterol in obese adolescents when combined with dietary control. Improvement in endothelial function if maintained could reflect long-term cardiovascular benefit.