What is Orlistat?
Orlistat is a prescription medication that works as a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor. It suppresses the natural chemicals that allow your body to break down fat from food that you have eaten. Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, the fat is expelled from your body via your bowels. Orlistat does not completely prevent your body from absorbing fat (you need to eat some fat as part of a balanced diet).
Orlistat doesn’t reduce your body’s absorption of carbohydrates and sugars, both of which can cause weight gain. For Orlistat to be effective you must use it as part of a controlled diet and exercise program.
What is the active ingredient of Orlistat?
The active ingredient of Orlistat weight loss tablets is also called orlistat. It is a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor is used to manage weight and obesity by reducing the absorption of dietary fats in the body. If you take Orlistat as part of a controlled diet, it can help you lose weight.
How does Orlistat work?
When you eat fatty foods they are broken down in your stomach by an enzyme called lipase, becoming glycerin and fatty acids. The fatty acids are then absorbed into your bloodstream through your intestinal wall. Orlistat suppresses the lipase enzyme, instead of being absorbed into your body the fat passes through your system and is expelled through your bowels. If you take an Orlistat tablet with every meal that contains fatty food, you may gradually lose weight. For Orlistat to work effectively, it must be taken as part of a balanced weight loss diet. The medication does not allow you to eat as much fat as you want without gaining weight, nor will it prevent the absorbtion of sugars and carbohydrates.
Who can take Orlistat?
Our online GPs are generally able to consider prescribing Orlistat to adult patients who are suffering from obesity and are trying to lose weight as part of a calorie-controlled diet. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, suffer from cholestasis, or are allergic to the active ingredient orlistat, you cannot take Orlistat.
Patients who are severely or morbidly obese and need to lose weight urgently may be able to use Orlistat as part of a wider weight loss program. The medication may also be suitable for people with type two diabetes who have to lose weight. You will be asked to complete a short medical questionnaire and will be only prescribed Orlistat if it is safe for you to use.
What doses of Orlistat are available?
Orlistat tablets contain a 120mg dosage of the active ingredient orlistat. If you are prescribed Orlistat, your online GP will give you precise individual instructions about how to take the medication. Generally, a single tablet is swallowed with each meal that contains fatty food. There is no need to take a tablet if your meal doesn’t contain fat. For the medication to be effective, you should follow a low calorie weight loss diet. Usually, each meal should contain a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Dietary fats should constitute no more than 30% of each meal.
Although you may need to cut down on your fat consumption, the human body needs some dietary fats to remain healthy. Orlistat does not prevent the absorption of more than around 30% of your fat intake from each meal. Even a 30% reduction in fat intake will lead to long-term weight loss if you use the medication correctly. Your online GP can give you specific advice about how much fat you need to eat. But it is dangerous to eliminate fats from your diet altogether.
How do I take Orlistat?
Xenical is designed to be used as tool to help you lose extra weight when you are on a long-term calorie controlled diet. You should aim to follow the diet recommended by your health professional. Typically, this will be based around regular light meals containing a healthy balance of carbs, proteins and dietary fats (no more than 30% of each meal). You must try to avoid fatty snacks between meals.
Swallow a single 120mg Orlistat tablet with each meal that contains dietary fat. As you digest the food, the active ingredient (also called orlistat) will suppress the lipase enzymes that reduce dietary fats to fatty acids. Around 30% of the fatty food will pass through your system and be excreted as part of your normal bowel movements.
Can I take Orlistat and drink alcohol?
Our online GPs generally do not recommend drinking alcohol while you are taking any prescription medicine. Drinking alcohol is unlikely to cause any side effects or reduce the effectiveness of Orlistat. You should bear in mind that alcohol has a high calorific content and may interfere with successful weight loss.
What are the side effects of Orlistat?
Your Orlistat tablets will come with a patient leaflet giving detailed information about the medication, its ingredients, possible side effects, and contraindications. Please read this leaflet carefully before you take any tablets. Keep the leaflet with the medication for future reference.
If you take Orlistat exactly as directed by our online GP, you are unlikely to experience any significant unwelcome side effects. A small minority of patients may experience some minor side effects.
Very common side effects (affects more than 1 user in 10)
Headache, abdominal pain/discomfort, urgent or increased need to open the bowels, flatulence (wind) with discharge, oily discharge, oily or fatty stools, liquid stools, low blood sugar levels (experienced by some people with type 2 diabetes).
Common side effects (affects 1 to 10 users in 100)
Rectal pain/discomfort, soft stools, incontinence (stools), bloating (experienced by some people with type 2 diabetes), tooth/gum disorder, irregularity of menstrual cycle, tiredness.
The following side effects have also been reported but their frequency cannot be estimated from the available data:
Allergic reactions. The main symptoms are itching, rash, wheals (slightly elevated, itchy skin patches that are paler or redder than surrounding skin), severe difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting and feeling unwell. Skin blistering (including blisters that burst). Diverticulitis. Bleeding from the back passage (rectum). Increases in the levels of some liver enzymes may be found in blood tests. Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). Symptoms can include yellowing skin and eyes, itching, dark coloured urine, stomach pain and liver tenderness (indicated by pain under the front of the rib cage on your right hand side), sometimes with loss of appetite. Gallstones. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Oxalate nephropathy (build up of calcium oxalate which may lead to kidney stones).
If you experience serious discomfort we recommend that you go straight to your nearest casualty department. In an emergency dial 999.
When should I not take Orlistat?
You cannot take Orlistat if you are allergic to the active ingredient (also called orlistat) or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you suffer from cholestasis or chronic malabsorption syndrome you will also be unable to use this medication.
If you suffer from any of the following medical conditions, or are taking any of the following medications, you should mention them when you complete the short online health questionnaire. You may still be able to take Orlistat as part of your weight loss program, but your online GP will only prescribe the medication if it is safe for you to use.
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Anticoagulant drugs (e.g. warfarin).
- Iodine salts and/or levothyroxine.
- Amiodarone. You may ask your doctor for advice.
- Medicines to treat HIV.
- Medicines for depression, psychiatric disorders or anxiousness
The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from the PDF-version from this website because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged or the medicine is from another brand.