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    Information about Orlistat

    Orlistat uses

    Orlistat is used in obesity. It should be taken along with a low-calorie diet.

    How orlistat works

    Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor. It works in the stomach and small intestine by blocking the absorption of fat from food by blocking enzymes responsible for the breakdown of fat.

    Common side effects of orlistat

    Abdominal pain, Fat in stool , Bowel incontinence, Flatus with discharge, Oily spotting, Diarrhea, Abdominal cramp, Flatulence, Soft stools
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Betina Chandolia
    MDS, BDS
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Lalit Kanodia
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    16 Oct 2019 | 01:31 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Orlistat

    • Orlistat is used to aid weight loss in obese individuals.
    • It should be used along with regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
    • Take it during or up to 1 hour after each meal.
    • Skip your dose if you miss a meal or if your meal contains no fat.
    • A multivitamin supplement containing vitamins A, D, and K is recommended when taking Orlistat.
    • It should not be taken for longer than six months. If you have been unable to lose weight after 12 weeks of taking this medicine, you should stop taking it and consult your doctor.

    Frequently asked questions for Orlistat


    Q. How does Orlistat help with weight loss?

    Orlistat belongs to a class of medicines known as lipase inhibitors. It targets the fat that you eat. It prevents about 25% of fat in your meals from being absorbed. This unabsorbed fat will get passed in stools and get removed from the body.

    Q. How long can you stay on Orlistat?

    It is not advised to take Orlistat for more than 6 months. Consult your doctor and stop the medication if you do not experience any weight reduction 12 weeks after starting your treatment with Orlistat.

    Q. Can you drink alcohol on Orlistat?

    Though alcohol does not interfere with the working of Orlistat, it is recommended that you cut on or avoid alcohol. Alcohol contains calories which will add to your weight. Hence, for effective weight reduction it is best to avoid alcohol.

    Q. How much weight can you lose in a week with Orlistat?

    You should set a realistic goal of weight reduction. Aim to reduce 5-10% of your starting weight. This weight loss process should be gradual and at a steady pace. You should try to reduce 0.5 kg of weight per week.

    Q. How quickly does Orlistat work?

    Orlistat starts working quickly, within 24-48 hours of taking it. You may even notice fat in your stools. However, it may take about a week or two to show effective weight reduction, which will vary from person to person.

    Q. Who should not take Orlistat?

    You should not take Orlistat if you are allergic to it, have difficulty absorbing food (chronic malabsorption syndrome), and have cholestasis (a condition where the flow of bile from the liver is blocked). Refrain from using Orlistat if you are taking cyclosporine medicine or blood thinners like warfarin. Along with that, avoid Orlistat if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Q. Is it important to follow an exercise program while taking Orlistat?

    Yes, exercise may prove to be very helpful for the effective weight reduction and maintenance of reduced weight. An exercise program and low-calorie intake will help maintain your weight even after discontinuation of the medicine.

    Q. What kind of diet should I follow while on Orlistat?

    You should stick to low-calorie low-fat diet while taking Orlistat. Having a high-fat meal with Orlistat might increase the chances of developing unpleasant side effects. Try to eat more vegetables and fruits, have small portions, eat regularly, and do not skip any meals.

    Q. How should I take Orlistat?

    Take Orlistat three times a day and swallow the capsule whole with water. Take it just before, during, or up to one hour after meals. The meal should be well balanced and should include low calorie ingredients. Do not take Orlistat if you miss a meal or your meal does not contain fat, as it will not work in the absence of fat.

    Content on this page was last updated on 16 October, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)