How Does Orlistat Work?

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All About Orlistat

If you’re thinking about losing weight you may have heard about the medicine Orlistat. A common question is does Orlistat work and is it an effective way to lose weight? To answer this question, its important to first understand how does Orlistat work and also look at the results of clinical trial data on the effectiveness of Orlistat.

What is Orlistat and how does it work?

Orlistat is a weight-loss medication that can help you lose weight if you are obese or overweight.

The Simple Version: The treatment quickly targets fat, prevents the fats in the food you eat from being digested. The fats are then removed from your body and passed out with your stools.

Orlistat acts locally in the gut (intestine). It works by preventing enzymes (lipases) that break down fats in the gut, preventing the absorption of fat and allows it to pass through the body undigested. This in turn reduces the number of calories absorbed by your body. At the recommended dose of 120mg three times a day, it is effective in preventing fat absorption by 30%. The image below also represents how Orlistat works.




Can Orlistat help me lose weight?

Orlistat is often recommended if you are overweight and if previous weight-reducing efforts have not worked.

The treatment prevents around a third of the fat you eat from being absorbed – and a reduced fat intake means no added weight. But to lose weight and to get the most from the treatment it is important to keep to a weight-reducing orlistat diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise.


How effective is Orlistat?

Orlistat has been extensively studied over many clinical trials. In clinical trial data the average weight loss with Orlistat compared to placebo with diet was 50% more. Furthermore, it was shown that those taking Orlistat maintained weight loss better than in the placebo group.  For maximum effectiveness of Orlistat, one capsule is taken with each main meal (a maximum of three capsules a day)  before, during, or up to one hour after each meal. If you miss a meal or the meal does not contain any fat, you do not need to take the capsule.

Read more about how effective is orlistat.


How do I take?

Just take one capsule within an hour of eating each of your three main meals. One at breakfast, one at lunch and one at dinner.

Orlistat is available in two types: Xenical and Alli. Xenical is the prescription dose (120mg) of Orlisat, while Alli contains half the amount (60mg) and is available to buy over-the-counter. Both treatments target and remove fat in exactly the same way.

  • Take one capsule just before, during, or up to an hour after each of your three main meals
  • Meals should be nutritionally balanced and part of a reduced calorie diet
  • If you miss a meal, or if the meal contains no fat, then the capsule should not be taken
  • And if you ever forget to take a dose, don’t worry – just take a dose with your next meal as normal
  • Because Orlistat reduces the absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins, a vitamin supplement should be taken at least 2 hours before or after administration


What are my targets?

Successful weight loss depends on realistic, achievable goals.

When you start taking Orlistat, your first weight loss target will be to lose 5% of your weight in the first 3 months. If you succeed in losing the weight, you will be able to continue with the treatment.

But don’t be disheartened if you do not lose weight with Orlistat. After a break of 6 months you can try again.


Can Orlistat cause side effects?

Like most medications, Orlistat may cause some unwanted side-effects. Since Orlistat affects how fat is absorbed in the gut, the most noticeable side effects are largely gastrointestinal and include wind, oily stools and urgency. The symptoms are often mild and not everyone experiences them, but keeping to your low-fat diet will reduce the risk of them occurring.


How to get the most from your Orlistat treatment

  • Eat well – try to eat three regular meals each day
  • Eat slowly and enjoy your food – don’t rush (it’ll keep any hunger at bay)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid temptation – keep the cupboards free from unhealthy foods
  • Know that weight loss takes time. Have realistic goals in mind, monitor your progress and don’t give up!



The conclusion is that orlistat has been clinically proven to help you lose more than 50% more weight than than with dieting alone. This means that if you could lose 6kg with diet alone, you could lose 9kg with orlistat. Although Orlistat is an effective weight loss medicine, it is not a miracle weight loss pill. It is important that you  combine it  with a  diet containing around 30% of calories coming from fat and  doing more exercise.

Your weight depends on how much energy you take in versus the amount of energy your body uses up. If you eat fewer calories than you burn up, you will lose weight because your body has to tap into its fat stores to get extra energy.  Orlistat is effective in preventing fat absorption from your diet which will help reduce you total calorie intake.

It is advisable to cut down your dietary calories by about 500 calories per day. This will result in loss of 1lb per week, which is a healthy weight loss.


Decided to purchase Orlistat? Next step might be to get a successful diet. Try our Orlistat diet plan.