GENERIC NAME: ORLISTAT - ORAL (OR-li-stat)
BRAND NAME(S): Alli, Xenical
USES: This medication is used along with a doctor-approved reduced-calorie diet, exercise, and behavior modification program to help significantly overweight (obese) persons lose weight. Taking orlistat can also help prevent you from regaining the weight you have lost. Losing weight and keeping it off can reduce the many health risks that obesity causes, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, certain breathing problems, and a shorter life span.Dietary fats need to be broken down into smaller pieces before the body can absorb them. Orlistat works by blocking the enzyme that breaks down fats in your diet. This undigested fat then passes out of your body in your bowel movement. Orlistat does not block the absorption of calories from sugar and other non-fat foods, so you still need to restrict your total intake of calories.
HOW TO USE: If you are taking the over-the-counter product to self-treat, read all directions on the product package before taking this medication.If your doctor has prescribed this medication, read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking orlistat and each time you get a refill. Take this medication as directed by your doctor, by mouth with liquid sometime during each meal that contains fat or within 1 hour after the meal, usually 3 times daily. If you miss a meal or your meal contains no fat, skip that dose of the medication. To decrease the chance of unpleasant side effects, it is very important that no more than 30% of the calories in your diet come from fat. Your daily intake of fat, protein, and carbohydrates should be evenly spread over 3 main meals.Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.Because this drug can interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins (fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E, K), a daily multivitamin supplement containing these nutrients is recommended. Take the multivitamin at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking orlistat (such as at bedtime).If you take cyclosporine, take it at least 3 hours before or after orlistat to make sure the full dose of cyclosporine is absorbed into your bloodstream. If you take levothyroxine, take it at least 4 hours before or after orlistat.You should see some weight loss within 2 weeks after you start orlistat. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
SIDE EFFECTS: Changes in your bowel function often occur because of the unabsorbed fat. Fatty/oily stool, oily spotting, intestinal gas with discharge, a feeling of needing to have a bowel movement right away, increased number of bowel movements, or poor bowel control may occur. These side effects may get worse if you eat more fat than you should. If these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly.If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: symptoms of liver disease (such as persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin), symptoms of kidney stones (such as back pain, pain when urinating, pink/bloody urine).A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking orlistat, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: a certain digestive problem (chronic malabsorption syndrome), a certain gall bladder problem (cholestasis), underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), kidney stones/problems (such as calcium oxalate kidney stones, hyperoxaluria), certain eating disorders (anorexia nervosa/bulimia), seizures.Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).If you are diabetic, weight loss may improve your blood sugar control. Be sure to check your blood sugar regularly and tell your doctor the results. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.This medication must not be used during pregnancy. Weight loss offers no potential benefit to a pregnant woman and may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: See also How to Use section.Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.Some products that may interact with this drug include: "blood thinners" (such as warfarin).
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
NOTES: If this medication has been prescribed for you, do not share this medication with others.For best results, this medication should be used along with a doctor-approved exercise program and diet plan. Consult your doctor or dietician for help designing an appropriate exercise and food plan for you.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it has been more than 1-2 hours since your meal. In that case, skip the missed dose since most of the fat from your meal will already have been absorbed and the medication will not work. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details.
Information last revised December 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Latest MedicineNet News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top orlistat Related Articles
Most Effective ExercisesThese seven exercises deliver fitness results at home or in the gym. Start your training to better physical health with the most effective exercises chosen by our experts.
7 Risky ExercisesWorking out is supposed to make you healthier--but some exercises can leave your body at risk of pain or injury. Some exercises are simply ineffective.Ditch these seven moves and learn healthier alternatives.
Nutrition QuizEven if you think you're getting enough fruits and vegetables per day, how can you be sure? Take the Diet & Nutrition Quiz to learn more about eating right.
Best Diet Tips SlideshowLearn to lose weight in a realistic way that works. Find healthy weight loss by eating right, sleeping more, understanding portion sizes. Learn how to set reasonable diet standards.
Drug interactions occur frequently. Get facts about the types of drug interactions, what substances or other things that may interact with drugs such as OTC drug and prescription drugs, vitamins, food(s) (grapefruit), and laboratory tests. Find out how to protect yourself from potential drug interactions.
Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your DrugsImportant information about your drugs should be reviewed prior to taking any prescription drug. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precauctions, dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug is to be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
Portion Distortion QuizAre your portions deceiving you? Take the Food Portion Distortion Quiz to find out how and why gigantic portions trick you into eating more than reasonable amounts of food!
High Protein DietLow-carb, high-protein diets are quite popular. High protein diets let you snack on protein-rich foods you love, but what are the downsides? Our experts explore the high protein diet dos and don'ts.
ObesityObesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.
What Are Stretch Marks?Stretch marks occur in the dermis, the elastic middle layer of skin that allows it to retain its shape. When the skin is constantly stretched, the dermis can break down, leaving behind stretch marks.
Superfoods QuizTake our Superfoods Quiz! Get to know how unprocessed, raw, organic foods and healthy drinks are rich in nutrients and dietary benefits.
Weight Control and Smoking CessationOne concern smokers have when considering quitting smoking is weight gain. Not everyone will gain weight when they stop smoking. There are lifestyle changes that can be made to avoid weight gain during smoking cessation. Lifestyle changes include regular exercise, proper nutrition, limiting snacking and alcohol, medication, and weight management counseling.