Orlistat is a weight-loss drug that can be bought in two different variants – Alli or Xenical. Alli is the 60mg option and is available to buy over the counter for adults only. Xenical is the 120mg Orlistat capsule which can only be bought by prescription and it is available to children older than 12 years of age and adults.

Who Can Take Orlistat?

Orlistat is the active ingredient in Alli and Xenical and it is used to help people lose weight or manage their weight. Weight-loss medications are usually only for the use of adults, but Xenical has been approved for use by children aged 12 and older.

Who Should Not Take Orlistat?

  • Women who are pregnant should refrain from using Orlistat and any other weight-loss medications. Weight loss is not ideal during pregnancy and weight gain is a natural part of the process.
  • People who have digestive disorders should not take this medicine. If your body has trouble absorbing food, you should steer clear of this medicine.
  • People with gallbladder problems should avoid using Xenical as it may make it worse.
  • People who have had organ transplants and use Cyclosporine should not use Alli. Orlistat and Cyclosporine work against each other will reduce the effectiveness of the drugs and potentially cause problems with the transplanted organs.
  • People who are not overweight should not use Orlistat or any other weight-loss drug.

What is the Daily Dosage?

The daily dosage of Orlistat is three times a day with main meals that contain fat. You can take the medication orally either during the meal or within an hour after the meal. This is the same for adults and children.

What Will Increase the Effectiveness?

The effectiveness of Alli and Xenical will be increased when combined with a low-calorie diet that also supplements the vitamins and minerals that the body needs and a fitness or exercise program. Daily exercise is important even if it is only a 30-minute walk. The food you eat is also extremely important when you want to lose weight.

Avoid eating very fatty or oily meals while taking Orlistat medications. These types of meals can cause uncomfortable and inconvenient side effects.

What are the Possible Side Effects?

There are several potential side effects. The main ones include:

  • Problems with the gastrointestinal system causing diarrhoea, discoloured bowel movements, frequent bowel movements, and oily stains on underwear.
  • It reduces the body’s ability to absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins and beta-carotene.
  • In some patients, Orlistat treatment has been reported to cause renal failure.

General Precautions

  • Some medications don’t work well together and either cancel each other out or cause serious problems in the body. It is of great importance to tell your doctor what other drugs you are taking before you start with Orlistat.
  • Never share your Alli or Xenical with another person. You don’t know how they will react to it. They may be allergic or they may be suffering from an eating disorder.
  • Always read the information pamphlet of the medication for contra-indications, side effects, usage guidelines and more.
  • Always consult your doctor before you start taking a new medication.