updated 12/16/2003 9:58:03 AM ET 2003-12-16T14:58:03

Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.’s drug Xenical on Monday became the first prescription pill approved to help teens combat obesity.

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The drug, which has been on the U.S. market as an adult weight-loss aid since 1998, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for obese adolescents ages 12 to 16.

Tested in teens who weighed an average of 210 pounds, Xenical helped participant’s weight drop more than a dummy pill.

Of youth taking Xenical, 27 percent cut their weight by at least 5 percent in relation to their height.

All of those in the study were fed a mildly low-calorie diet.

Xenical cuts the amount of fat absorbed in the gut by 30 percent.

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