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Xenical (Orlistat)

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About Product
Mohamed Imran Lakhi
This content has been written and checked for quality and accuracy by
Mohamed Imran Lakhi Content Administrator Updated on: 29/10/2021 Next review: 29/04/2022

Xenical (Orlistat) for Weight Loss

Orlistat - also available under the brand name Xenical - is a weight loss medicine. When taken alongside a low-fat, reduced calorie diet, it is possible to lose 5% or more of your body mass within a year of taking Orlistat.

It is important to note that Orlistat is most effective when taken alongside a healthy, balanced diet. Taking Orlistat on its own, without a diet and exercise plan, is unlikely to produce desirable results and may increase your risk of side effects.

Our confidential service makes it easy for you to get the weight loss treatment you need delivered straight to your door. If your order is approved before 3pm, Monday to Friday, our UK pharmacy will dispatch your item the same day, for a next-day discreet delivery.

Any changes to diet and exercise when taking Orlistat should be continued after treatment.

Xenical and Orlistat capsules come in 120mg capsules.

Orlistat is also available as the brandnames Alli, Xenical and Orlos.

How does Orlistat (Xenical) work?

Orlistat, the active ingredient of Xenical weight loss pills, works by suppressing enzymes in the gut called lipase, which process the fat you consume in your diet. By stopping these enzymes, it is estimated that a third of the fat you consume passes through the body without affecting your weight while taking Xenical.

While taking Orlistat, you should avoid fatty foods such as sweet treats and savoury snacks, and eat more fruits and vegetables. For an adult eating a 2000kcal diet, it is recommended to consume less than 67g of fat per day while taking Orlistat.

Consuming fatty foods while taking Orlistat may result in steatorrhoea - a condition similar to diarrhoea which causes loose and oily stools.

How do I take Orlistat?

The typical dose of Orlistat is one 120 mg tablet to be taken immediately before, during or within an hour after one of the three main meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If a meal is skipped, or contains no fat, there is no need to take Xenical (orlistat).

Taking more Orlistat weight loss pills before a meal will not make you lose weight faster but may increase your risk of experiencing side effects.

Orlistat should be taken alongside a healthy and balanced diet. You should speak to your doctor about finding a suitable diet and exercise plan which is safe for you.

Always take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

What should I do if I forget to take Orlistat?

If you forget to take Orlistat when you should, take it as soon as you remember and continue to take it as you regularly would.

Do not take more Orlistat to make up for a missed dose.

What should I do if I take more Orlistat than I should?

If you accidentally take more Orlistat weight loss pills than prescribed, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Side effects and cautions

Before you start taking Xenical, you should read the patient information for Xenical supplied with your medicine. This leaflet contains important information about how to take Orlistat, how to store it, what to do if you experience side effects and other safety information.


Do not take Xenical (Orlistat) if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, including:

  • Edible printing ink
  • Gelatine
  • Indigo carmine (E132)
  • Microstalline cellulose
  • Orlistat
  • Povidone (E1201)
  • Sodium laurilsulfate
  • Sodium starch glycolate (type A)
  • Talc
  • Titanium dioxide (E171)

If you experience the signs of an allergic reaction after taking Xenical (orlistat) weight loss pills, stop taking it and contact your doctor as soon as possible, or go straight to your nearest accident and emergency department.

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Raised, itchy, rash (hives)
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat


Orlistat weight loss pills are not suitable for everyone. If you are unsure whether it is suitable for you to take Orlistat for weight loss, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not take Xenical if you:

  • are allergic to orlistat or any of the other ingredients listed above or in the PIL
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have cholestasis (liver disorder)
  • have chronic malabsorption syndrome

Xenical may affect other medicines you take. Speak to your doctor before treating weight loss with Xenical if you are taking:

  • Acarbose
  • Amiodarone
  • Anticoagulants (Warfarin)
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Ciclosporin
  • HIV medicines
  • Iodine salts
  • Levothyroxine
  • Medicines to treat anxiety, depression or other psychiatric disorders

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

There is a lack of evidence to determine the safety of Xenical (Orlistat) when used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Do not take Xenical if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and looking to lose weight, you should speak to your GP or a qualified dietician for advice and assistance.

Side effects

All medicines have the potential of causing side effects, though not everybody gets them. Before taking Xenical weight loss pills, it is important that you understand its associated risks.

Very common side effects of Orlistat include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence (wind) with discharge
  • Headache
  • Increased or urgent need to go to the toilet
  • Liquid stools (diarrhoea)
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Oily discharge
  • Oily or fatty stools (steatorrhoea)

Other side effects of Orlistat weight loss pills include:

  • Bloating
  • Incontinence
  • Irregularity of menstrual cycle
  • Rectal pain
  • Soft stools
  • Teeth and gum disorders
  • Tiredness

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. For more information regarding the safety of this medicine, consult the patient information leaflet (PIL) enclosed with your medicine.

Reporting side effects

If you experience any side effects, whether listed above or in the patient information leaflet, speak to your doctor or ask a pharmacist for advice.

Always read the patient information leaflet before you start taking Orlistat.

Do not take Xenical (Orlistat) past the expiry date printed on the packaging.

Never dispose of medicine via household general or water waste. You should ask a pharmacist to safely dispose any unwanted or expired medicine on your behalf.

You can find your nearest pharmacy by using the NHS' Find A Pharmacy service.

Always keep medicine out of the sight and reach of children and pets.

Never share your medicine with anyone else, even if they are experiencing the same symptoms as you.

Weight loss tips

Weight loss requires more than just taking pills. It takes commitment to a diet and exercise regime, which should be continued even when you stop taking Xenical (Orlistat). You will most likely need to make changes to your eating habits and learn how to control portion sizes. If you are unsure about what kind of diet or exercise plan is suitable for you, speak to your doctor.

It may make your weight loss journey easier if you get your family or friends to support you. It can also give other people you live with the opportunity to learn a thing or two about healthy eating.

For some, just the thought of excercising can be difficult. For others, their busy lifestyle can make it challenging to fit in a rigorous workout routine. But there are a number of small exercises you can do which can have great results. Instead of standing around and waiting for the kettle to boil, do some lunges or squats to give your legs a light workout. There are plenty of other ways you can fit in small exercises to your daily schedule.

A fitness tracker, such as a Fitbit, can help you track your exercise. They link up to your phone and show you how much exercise you do on a day-to-day basis.

Keeping a food diary to document your weight loss journey can be used to identify your eating habits, keep a track of your weight changes, and note down changes you should consider. Keep a note somewhere, such as on your phone, of every meal and snack you eat. Note down how many calories and the amount of fat in each meal and snack you eat.

Frequently asked questions

What results can I expect from taking Orlistat?

If you take Xenical weight loss pills alongside a controlled diet and exercise routine, you can expect to lose 5% of your body weight within the first 12 weeks.

Can I drink alcohol while taking Orlistat?

There is not evidence that drinking alcohol affects Orlistat, but reducing or avoiding alcoholic beverages is advised as they can hinder weight loss, due to their high calorie content.

If I take Orlistat, does it mean I do not have to exercise?

Xenical weight loss pills should be taken alongside a healthy lifestyle, which includes a sufficient amount of activity. Taking Xenical while remaining sedentary (inactive) is unlikely to produce positive weight loss results. You should speak to your doctor to determine a suitable diet and exercise plan for you.

Table of contents

Xenical (Orlistat) For Weight Loss

How does Xenical work?

How do I take Xenical?

Xenical side effects and cautions

Weight loss tips

Frequently asked questions

Additional resources

How to stop living a sedentary lifestyle

What are calories and how do I know how many I should be having in a day?

Treatment information

  • Name: Xenical
  • Active Ingredients: Orlistat
  • Manufacturer: Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH
  • Administration: Oral
  • Presentation: Capsules
  • Available Strength: 120 mg
  • Exemption: Prescription only medicine
  • Application: Men and women over 18
  • Dosage: One capsule with water immediately before, during or up to one hour after each main meal.
  • Description: Weight loss in conjunction with mild hypo caloric diet.
  • Drug Class: Lipase inhibitor
  • Alcohol Consumption: Do not drink alcohol
  • When Pregnant: Do not consume. Speak to your doctor for further advice.
  • When Breastfeeding: Do not consume. Speak to your doctor for further advice.
Click here to view the Xenical (Orlistat) - Patient Information Leaflet

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