Orlistat (tetrahydrolipstatin) is one of the most well known weight loss medications on the market today and comes in two versions – over the counter, and prescription, with the prescription a higher dose than the OTC medication. It also goes by the names Xenical and Alli.

Orlistat’s Function on Weight Loss

Every medication provides different types of weight loss benefits. Orlistat is known as lipase inhibitor. That means that it prevents the body from processing fat, which causes your body to turn that fat into waste rather than calories. The result is that some of the fat calories you consume are eliminated, leaving you with a naturally low calorie diet.

Weight Loss Benefits from Orlistat

Orlistat’s weight loss is modest but empirically proven. The average individual loses less than 5% of their body fat (about 4 to 6lbs more) over the course of a year when combined with diet and exercise compared to those that do diet and exercise alone. Yet those benefits appear consistent across all of those that take Orlistat, and because of its generally well tolerated formula it is a preference among many physicians for weight loss.

Side Effects of Orlistat

Orlistat is a generally well tolerated drug. But the effects of Orlistat (preventing the absorption of fats) can lead to their own symptoms. The most common symptom is loose and oily stools and urgent bowel movements, in rare cases with fecal incontinence. Some change in your stools is common.

Keep in mind that these symptoms, unlike some medications, are due to the drug working properly. Because your body doesn’t absorb fat, it turns it into waste, which changes the consistently of your stools and can lead to rapid bowel movements. Talk to your doctor about any additional side effects of Orlistat.

Additional Information on Orlistat

  • Orlistat has been shown to reduce the incidence of diabetes by as much as 40%, but it’s not clear if this is because of weight loss or some other effect of the drug.
  • Orlistat may interact with or prevent the effects of other medications, including fat soluble vitamins. Make sure you tell your doctor everything you’re taking before using Orlistat.
  • Orlistat is not meant for those that have basically already cut fat from their diet, because Orlistat only works on fat. If you’re on a low fat diet you may want to consider a different fat loss medication.

As always, only use Orlistat when recommended and cleared by your own doctor, as health, specific diet, and more are important for understanding if Orlistat is the right choice for you. If you’re interested in learning more about medical weight loss, contact Institute for Weight Loss Surgery and body Contouring today.