Cetilistat is a drug designed to treat obesity. It acts in the same way as the older drug orlistat (Xenical) by inhibiting pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that breaks down triglycerides in the intestine. Without this enzyme, triglycerides from the diet are prevented from being hydrolyzed into absorbable free fatty acids and are excreted undigested.
In human trials, cetilistat was shown to produce similar weight loss to orlistat, but also produced similar side effects such as oily, loose stools, fecal incontinence, frequent bowel movements, and flatulence. It is likely that the same precautions would apply in that absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and other fat-soluble nutrients may be inhibited, requiring vitamin supplements to be used to avoid deficiencies.
Cetilistat has completed Phase 1 and 2 trials in the West and is currently in Phase 3 trials in Japan where it is partnered with Takeda. Norgina BV has now acquired the full global rights to cetilistat from Alizyme after the latter went into administration.