Orlistat: A Clinically Proven Treatment for Obesity
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Weight loss can usually be achieved without medical assistance, but people trying to overcome obesity can struggle with the necessary changes and need some help. Orlistat, a capsule-based treatment that serves to prevent fats from being absorbed through digestion, is among the safest and most effective treatments available today.

Typically prescribed for those with BMIs over 30 or over 28 with other risk factors, Orlistat is the only clinically proven weight-loss treatment licensed for use in the UK. It?s only a part of the solution, and must be accompanied by diet and lifestyle changes, but it can make a big difference. If you think Orlistat may be right for you, seek a prescription today.


Once you?ve submitted your prescription and received your Orlistat 120mg capsules, you can start using them to reduce the impact of fatty meals. You should take one capsule shortly before or after you eat such a meal, and you can do this up to three times per day.

Because they work by preventing fat from being absorbed, you don?t need to use them with low-fat meals. Remember that they only block a third of the fat you consume, though, so using Orlistat doesn?t then allow you to eat as many fatty foods as you want. It?s best with a good diet.

Orlistat side effects

If you take too many Orlistat pills, you can experience some side effects. They?re most likely to occur when you?ve consumed a lot of dietary fat or taken too many capsules. Here?s the list:

Somewhat common: liquid stools, bloating, abdominal pains, and wind.

Uncommon: incontinence, menstrual irregularity, rectal discomfort, and exhaustion.

You can reduce the likelihood of experiencing side effects by reducing your use of Orlistat or simply consuming less dietary fat, though they?ll also go down as you get used to the capsules.

Orlistat dosage

You should have one 120mg capsule of Orlistat with a fatty meal, and you can safely take up to three capsules in a day. Anything more than that is risky: it won?t improve results, and it will raise your chance of experiencing side effects.

It bears noting (we?ll revisit this in more detail later) that lower dosages are available over the counter under different brand names. The recommended course of treatment is always the same (one capsule with each meal), so you can try a 60mg version to see how you feel about this type of treatment before you seek a prescription for Orlistat.

Orlistat ingredients

In addition to 120mg of orlistat (otherwise known as tetrahydrolipstatin), each capsule contains various inactive ingredients (including sodium lauryl sulfate, talc, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, and sodium starch glycolate), and has gelatin in the coating.


Orlistat is only effective when used as part of a general nutrition plan. If you don?t reduce calorie consumption overall, it won?t produce any weight loss.

You must be careful using Orlistat alongside other treatments. These include, but are not limited to, the following: anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, anticoagulants, HIV medication, thyroid medication, and antiarrhythmic heart medication.

You should not use Orlistat if you?re also using the anti-diabetic drug acarbose.

If you suffer from kidney issues, mention them when seeking a prescription: a possible link with renal stones has been identified.

Patient information leaflet

What you need to know about Orlistat

What is Orlistat?

Orlistat is a medical treatment used to assist with weight loss. Unlike many treatments that supposedly help, it?s proven through clinical trials to make a legitimate and substantial difference when used correctly. This is why it?s the only licensed weight-loss drug in the UK.

How does Orlistat work?

The active ingredient in Orlistat works by binding to Lipase, a protein produced in the pancreas that helps digest fats. In doing so, it makes that protein less effective, reducing how much fat your stomach can absorb during digestion, ensuring that some fat passes directly through to the stool. It doesn?t bind all the fat, though: used as advised, a 120mg capsule of Orlistat will prevent around a third of the consumed fat from being absorbed.

How to get the best results from Orlistat

Even if used properly, Orlistat will only be a part of the puzzle. Successfully treating obesity requires a consistent reduction in calorie intake (and ideally an accompanying increase in exercise). A good treatment plan will significantly reduce the consumption of fatty foods in general, then use Orlistat to mitigate the impact of the fatty meals that are still allowed.

This is an appropriate approach because it?s extremely difficult to embrace a radically different diet, particularly when you rely on food for comfort, so cutting out all fatty meals would increase the likelihood of the patient losing their patience and ruining all their progress through binge-eating. The best treatment plan is a sustainable treatment plan.

How to take Orlistat

Orlistat should be taken immediately before a fatty meal, or up to an hour after. Faster is better, because it won?t prove as effective if taken after some of the fat has been digested. If you?re going to take Orlistat, it?s essential that you follow the associated treatment plan, acknowledge all the warnings, and understand the possible side effects.

The best Orlistat alternatives

Two of the most common Orlistat alternatives use exactly the same active ingredient. Xenical comes in the same capsule sizes, and only differs in that it?s a branded product where Orlistat is the generic version. Orlistat is cheaper as a result, so there?s no reason to get Xenical if you can get Orlistat instead ? though if you happen to have some Xenical, you can use it just as well.

Alli, meanwhile, is the non-prescription version of Orlistat, containing just 60mg of orlistat per capsule. The reduced dosage lowers the effectiveness, meaning that a capsule of Alli will only prevent about a quarter of fat from being absorbed (down from a third for an Orlistat capsule).

There are other weight-loss treatments on the market, though none that are licensed for use in the UK or the EU. XLS-Medical is a treatment that uses Litramine, a substance extracted from the dried leaves of Mexican cacti, and it?s said to bind to fat to make it insoluble. There are lofty claims concerning what Litramine can achieve, but the lack of clinically proven viability is a clear indication that it lacks the reliable potency of Orlistat. Instead of taking a risk on something with little evidence to support its use, it?s best to stick with a trusted treatment option.

Frequently-asked questions

Is it legal to purchase Orlistat online in the UK?

Yes, it?s entirely legal to buy Orlistat online in the UK. You still need a prescription to get the 120mg capsules, but you can procure one through a suitable online service to save time.?

What should I do if I forget to take an Orlistat capsule?

If you forget to consume one of your Orlistat capsules and don?t realise it until more than an hour after your meal, you should forget about it and wait until your next fatty meal. Because it?s only effective while you?re digesting the food, taking the capsule later won?t achieve anything.