Xenical, a fat blocker sold by Roche Holding AG, helped people with high blood pressure (hypertension) to lower it, while Meridia, an appetite suppressant sold by Abbott Laboratories, did not, European researchers reported on Monday.
Xenical and Meridia or Reductil are the trade names for orlistat and sibutramine, respectively.
Dr. Karl Horvath of the Medical University of Graz in Austria analyzed dozens of previously published studies on weight-loss interventions for people with hypertension. This type of large review of the research is called meta-analysis. The findings were published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
People who were given orlistat or sibutramine or took part in a weight-loss diet lost more weight than people who did not have such interventions, the researchers said.
Orlistat and weight-loss diets also were effective at reducing the patients’ blood pressure, the researchers said.
But sibutramine treatment did not lower overall blood pressure and appeared to increase systolic blood pressure - the top number in blood pressure readings, the researchers said.
“Although sibutramine reduced body weight about the same amount as orlistat, it did not show the same beneficial effects on blood pressure,” the researchers wrote.
High blood pressure that is left uncontrolled raises one’s risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems. Reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension has been shown to reduce these cardiovascular risks.