top of page
  • Tim Reed

Orlistat (Xenical) for Weight Loss. Uses and Side Effects

Updated: Apr 22

Xenical/Orlistat - here's everything you need to know. We cover where to get it, risks and benefits, dosage, how to store Xenical, the history of this weight-loss drug - this blog post has everything you need to know. We will cover:

--


What is Orlistat (Xenical)?



A packet of xenical
Orlistat is sold as Xenical

Orlistat, also known under the brand name Xenical, is a prescription medication approved for weight loss management in overweight adults. It belongs to a class of drugs called lipase inhibitors, which block the fat-digesting enzymes in the small intestine, preventing the absorption of about 30% of dietary fat. This results in a reduction in calorie intake, leading to weight loss and a reduction in your body mass index. Studies have shown that Orlistat (or Xenical, whatever you want to call it) can be an effective tool for weight loss when used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program. In clinical trials, individuals taking Orlistat lost an average of 4-6 kilos over one year compared to those taking a placebo. It is important to note that this weight loss drugs should be taken as part of an overall weight loss plan. For example, consider what main meals you are eating, try a low-fat diet, be wary of your daily intake of fat and make lifestyle changes (eg exercise!). Use weight loss supplements as one piece in the weight loss jigsaw for maximum effect.

Xenical/Orlistat is not suitable for everyone. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting Orlistat to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you. Orlistat is contraindicated in individuals with:

How to store Xenical:

To ensure the effectiveness and safety of Xenical, proper storage is essential. Here are the specific instructions for storing Xenical:

  1. Keep Xenical in its original packaging: Do not remove the capsules from the blister packs until you are ready to take them. This will help protect the capsules from light and moisture.

  2. Store Xenical in a cool, dry place: The ideal storage temperature for Xenical is between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C). Do not store Xenical in the bathroom or near a sink, as the humidity in these areas can affect the integrity of the capsules. Keep Xenical stored at room temperature.

  3. Keep Xenical out of direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can damage the capsules and make them less effective. If you need to transport Xenical, keep it in a dark bag or container to protect it from light exposure.

  4. Keep Xenical out of reach of children and pets: Xenical is a prescription medication and should be kept out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

  5. Do not store Xenical past its expiration date: The expiration date on the Xenical packaging indicates the last date when the medication is guaranteed to be effective. Using Xenical after the expiration date may not provide the desired results and could increase the risk of side effects.

By following these storage guidelines, you can ensure that Xenical remains potent and safe for use throughout its shelf life.


Are Orlistat and Xenical the same thing?


​Orlistat and Xenical are essentially the same drug. Orlistat is the generic name for the medication, while Xenical is the brand name. They both contain the same active ingredient, orlistat, and they work in the same way to block the absorption of fat in the body. They are both available as prescription medications for weight loss. Orlistat is sold as Xenical in Australia.

The main difference between Orlistat and Xenical is the brand name and the cost. Orlistat is the generic version of the drug, which means that it is manufactured by different companies and may be available at a lower price than Xenical. Xenical is the brand-name version of the drug, which is manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals. Both Orlistat and Xenical are effective for weight loss when used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program. They are generally safe and well-tolerated, but they can cause side effects such as oily spotting, gas, and diarrhea.

A chart showing the differences between Xenical and Orlistat
The differences between Orlistat and Xenical

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting Orlistat or Xenical to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.



How does Xenical and Orlistat work for weight loss?


​The digestive process involves the breakdown of fats into smaller molecules called fatty acids, which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream. Lipase enzymes play a crucial role in this process by breaking down triglycerides, the main type of fat found in food. Orlistat works by blocking the activity of these lipase enzymes, preventing them from breaking down triglycerides into fatty acids. As a result, about 30% of the fat consumed is not absorbed and is instead eliminated through bowel movements.

Xenical, also known by its generic name orlistat, is a prescription medication commonly used for weight management. It belongs to a class of drugs called lipase inhibitors, which function by blocking the activity of lipase enzymes in the small intestine. These enzymes play a crucial role in breaking down dietary fats into smaller molecules called fatty acids, which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream.

The Role of Lipase Enzymes in Fat Absorption

The digestive process involves the secretion of various enzymes, including lipase, from the pancreas. Lipase enzymes attach themselves to triglycerides, the main type of fat found in food, and break them down into fatty acids and monoglycerides. These smaller molecules can then be absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the small intestine.

Xenical's Mechanism of Action

Orlistat, the active ingredient in Xenical, works by specifically targeting lipase enzymes. It binds to these enzymes, preventing them from attaching to and breaking down triglycerides. As a result, about 30% of the fat consumed remains undigested and is instead eliminated through bowel movements.

Impact on Calorie Intake and Weight Loss

By preventing the absorption of a significant portion of dietary fat, Xenical effectively reduces the overall calorie intake. This reduction in calorie intake, when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, can lead to weight loss over time.

Clinical Evidence Supporting Xenical's Effectiveness

Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Xenical for weight loss. In a one-year study, individuals taking Xenical in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet lost an average of 9 to 12 pounds compared to those taking a placebo.

Additional Benefits of Xenical

Beyond its weight loss effects, Xenical has been shown to offer additional health benefits, including:

  • Lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels: By reducing the absorption of fat, Xenical can contribute to lower LDL cholesterol levels, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

  • Reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes: Studies suggest that Xenical may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially in individuals with pre-diabetes.

  • A placebo group of people also lost weight with Xenical - it genuinely works without doubt so you can relax and not worry about losing weight


Here is a detailed explanation of how Xenical works with the absorption of dietary fat: Lipase Enzymes and Fat Breakdown

Lipase enzymes play a crucial role in breaking down dietary fats into smaller molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. These enzymes attach themselves to triglycerides, the primary form of fat found in food, and break them down into fatty acids and monoglycerides.

Xenical's Inhibitory Effect on Lipase Enzymes

Xenical acts by specifically binding to lipase enzymes, preventing them from attaching to and breaking down triglycerides. As a result, about 30% of the fat consumed remains undigested and is instead eliminated through bowel movements.

Reducing Calorie Intake through Fat Inhibition

By blocking the absorption of a significant portion of dietary fat, Xenical effectively reduces the overall calorie intake. This reduction in calorie intake, when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, can lead to weight loss over time.

Clinical Evidence Supporting Xenical's Effectiveness

Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Xenical for weight loss. In a one-year study, individuals taking Xenical in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet lost an average of 4-6 kilos compared to those taking a placebo. -- Here's why Xenical might not work for everyone:

While Xenical (orlistat) can be an effective weight loss medication for many people, it may not work for everyone. Several factors can contribute to the ineffectiveness of Xenical in some individuals.

  1. Adherence to a Reduced-Calorie Diet: Xenical works best when combined with a balanced diet that is lower in calories. If you continue to consume a high-calorie diet while taking Xenical, you may not see significant weight loss results.

  2. Lack of Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity is an essential component of any successful weight loss plan. Combining Xenical with regular exercise can enhance its effectiveness and promote overall health.

  3. Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as malabsorption syndromes, cholestasis, and liver disease, can affect the absorption or metabolism of fat, making Xenical less effective.

  4. Individual Variability: People's responses to medications can vary significantly. Some individuals may experience reduced weight loss or no weight loss at all while taking Xenical.

  5. Genetics: Genetic factors can play a role in determining an individual's response to weight loss medications. Some individuals may have genetic predispositions that make Xenical less effective for them.

  6. Dosage and Duration of Use: The recommended dosage of Xenical is one 120mg capsule three times a day with each main meal. Taking less than the prescribed amount may not provide sufficient fat inhibition for weight loss. Additionally, consistently using Xenical over an extended period is crucial for long-term weight management.

What are the possible side effects of Xenical or Orlistat?


The most common side effects associated with Orlistat or Xenical are gastrointestinal in nature and include:

  • Oily spotting or discharge

  • Increased gas and flatulence

  • Loose stools or diarrhoea

  • Abdominal discomfort

These side effects are generally mild and tend to subside over time. Orlistat may also interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. It is recommended that individuals taking Orlistat supplement with a multivitamin containing these nutrients. Overweight adults with certain risk factors should ask their Doctor whether Xenical is right for them (they may prescribe an alternative). If you experience side effects or an allergic reaction to Xenical or Orlistat, it is vital that you seek medical help immediately. It is not for everyone, people with high blood pressure are often urged to talk to their health care provider before deciding to use Xenical for weight loss. You can experience adverse effects and it is not uncommon. Some people report oily stools, abdominal pain and dark urine; again, if you experience any side effects, talk to your Doctor or GP and seek medical attention. Furthermore, if you experience significant weight loss with Xenical, again it is best to check with your GP to make sure nothing sinister is happening to your body. Obese patients often lose weight quickly but losing weight too fast can create problems.


Alternatives to Xenical and Orlistat?


​Xenical and Orlistat are not the only weight loss drugs you can take. In terms of prescription drugs, Saxenda may be a better option for you, however, there are plenty of other weight loss supplements you can take that you don't need a Doctor's prescription for.

What dose should I take?


The usual dose of Xenical (orlistat) for adults is one 120-mg capsule taken three times a day with each main meal that contains fat. The capsules should be swallowed whole with a glass of water and can be taken during the meal or up to one hour after the meal is eaten. If a meal is occasionally missed or contains no fat, the dose of Xenical can be omitted. Xenical is given in mg capsules and the exact dose is prescribed by your Doctor or HealthCare Provider. It's important to stick to the recommended dose, don't have less or more than what has been prescribed.


It is important to follow the recommended dosage of Xenical to ensure its effectiveness and safety. Taking more than the prescribed amount will not provide additional benefits but may increase the risk of side effects.

Here are some additional instructions for taking Xenical:

  • Do not chew or crush the capsules.

  • Take Xenical with meals that contain fat.

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible with your next meal.

  • Do not take Xenical more than three times a day.

  • If you have any questions or concerns about taking Xenical, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

It is also important to note that Xenical should be used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program for best results. Xenical will not work by itself to help you lose weight. Here are some additional tips for losing weight with Xenical:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in calories and fat.

  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Manage stress levels.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of losing weight and keeping it off with Xenical. I know we harp on about it, but it is important to seek medical advice before taking Xenical. Any potential benefit can have adverse events, especially if you have an eating disorder. People with issues with blood sugar should be especially wary of certain weight loss supplements. The use of orlistat should be carefully considered by both yourself and a GP before deciding to proceed with this form of weight loss.


Where can you buy Xenical or Orlistat?


Xenical (Orlistat) is only available with a prescription from your Doctor, GP, or health care provider. If you are uncomfortable visiting your GP to ask for weight loss medications, try alternatives instead.

Reviews from people who have used Xenical or Orlistat


Positive Reviews

  • "Xenical has been a lifesaver for me. I've lost 7 kilos in three months, and I'm finally starting to feel like myself again." - Sarah J.

  • "I was skeptical about trying Xenical at first, but I'm so glad I did. I've lost 10 kilos in six months, and I'm no longer embarrassed about my weight." - David M.

  • "Xenical has helped me to finally control my eating habits. I'm no longer constantly craving junk food, and I'm able to stick to a healthy diet." - Jessica L.

  • "I've tried so many different weight loss programs in the past, but nothing has worked as well as Xenical. I'm finally seeing results, and I'm so happy with my progress." - Mark B.

  • "Xenical has given me the confidence to wear the clothes I've always wanted to wear. I feel so much better about myself, and I'm so grateful for this medication." - Susan P.

Neutral Reviews

  • "Xenical has helped me to lose a few pounds, but I'm not sure if it's worth the side effects. I've been experiencing oily spotting and diarrhoea." - Emily R.

  • "Xenical has made it easier for me to eat a healthy diet, but I'm still not seeing the results I was hoping for. I may have to combine it with other weight loss methods." - Michael K.

  • "Xenical has helped me to lose weight, but I'm not sure if it's sustainable in the long term. I'm worried about what will happen when I stop taking the medication." - Jennifer S.

  • "Xenical has helped me to control my cravings, but I'm still struggling to lose weight. I may need to adjust my diet and exercise habits." - Paul T.

  • "Xenical has helped me to lose weight, but I'm not sure if it's worth the cost. It's a very expensive medication." - Lisa A.

Negative Reviews

  • "Xenical made me feel terrible. I had constant gas, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. I had to stop taking it after a week." - John W.

  • "Xenical didn't work for me at all. I didn't lose any weight, and I experienced all of the side effects." - Mary C.

  • "Xenical made me feel so depressed and anxious. I had to stop taking it after a month." - Peter D.

  • "Xenical caused me to have irregular periods and mood swings. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone." - Susan E.

  • "Xenical is a dangerous medication. It can cause serious side effects, including liver damage." - David F.

It is important to note that these are just a few examples of reviews from people who have used Xenical. Everyone's experience with this medication will be different. It is important to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of Xenical before taking it.


The History of Xenical


The Journey of Xenical: From Discovery to Market

Xenical, also known by its generic name orlistat, is a prescription medication used for weight management. Its journey from initial discovery to widespread use spans over two decades, marked by scientific advancements and regulatory approvals.

The Early Years: Conception and Development

The story of Xenical begins in the 1980s, when scientists at Roche Pharmaceuticals were investigating the role of lipase enzymes in fat digestion. Lipase enzymes play a crucial role in breaking down triglycerides, the main form of fat found in food, into smaller molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

In 1991, Roche researchers discovered a compound, orlistat, that could specifically inhibit lipase enzymes. This discovery held promise for weight management, as it could potentially reduce the absorption of dietary fat.

Clinical Trials and Regulatory Approvals

Throughout the 1990s, orlistat underwent extensive clinical trials to evaluate its safety and efficacy in weight loss. These trials demonstrated that orlistat, when combined with a reduced-calorie diet, could help individuals lose weight and maintain weight loss.

In 1999, orlistat, under the brand name Xenical, received regulatory approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of obesity. It was the first lipase inhibitor to be approved for weight management.

Over-the-Counter Availability and Beyond

In 2007, the FDA approved an over-the-counter version of orlistat, under the brand name Alli, with a lower dosage of 60mg compared to the 120mg prescription version. Alli was initially available without a prescription but required a pharmacist consultation.

Over the years, Xenical has become a widely used weight loss medication, with studies indicating its effectiveness in promoting weight loss and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is currently available in over 100 countries worldwide.

Continuous Research and Future Directions

Despite its widespread use, research on Xenical and its potential applications continues. Studies are investigating the long-term effects of Xenical on weight management, its impact on cardiovascular health, and its potential role in preventing other weight-related conditions.

20 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page