Is Orlistat really losing weight? See what it’s for and how to take it

Orlistat is a weight loss medicine that is used as an adjunct to obesity therapy. Known by its trade name Xenical, it helps to lose weight by preventing the absorption of fats in the intestines. He often manages to reduce a third of the fat consumed in his diet.

It is generally for people who need to lose weight and who are not able to do so with nutrition and exercise, even if they make several attempts. Basically, the drug increases the effectiveness of the diet, and one person loses an average of 5 to 10 kg per year.

It is noteworthy that orlistat is used for weight loss in people with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30 kg / m². Learn how BMI is calculated. Therefore, it aims to help in the treatment of cases of overweight or obesity, helping to prevent other problems associated with these conditions, such as hypertension.

However, for orlistat to be effective in losing weight, you need to adjust your diet and keep your exercise routine. And use should always be in the care of a healthcare professional.

The following are the main questions about orlistat and how to use it properly.

Orlistat: what it is for, how it is taken and the effects

What is orlistat used for?

O orlistat It is a medicine indicated to help reduce and maintain the weight of the pounds lost after the initial treatment. It also helps to improve risk factors associated with obesity, such as lowering “bad” blood cholesterol, glucose, and high blood pressure.

Does Orlistat help you lose weight?

Yes. the main indicator of orlistat is to help reduce weight, along with a low-calorie diet and regular physical activity.

This medication helps to lose weight, especially in cases where the person is on a high fat diet.

How does orlistat work in the body?

O orlistat it directly affects the intestinal lumen, which means it is neither absorbed nor circulated in the blood. Its mechanism of action is the binding of an enzyme responsible for the breakdown and absorption of fat molecules, which is ingested by food.

Therefore orlistat prevents the action of the enzyme and reduces the absorption of fat in the diet by up to 30%, leading to its direct elimination from feces. This reduces the amount of calories that the body absorbs.

How to take orlistat?

The recommendation is to take one capsule 120 mg, three times a day, during the main meals of the day, such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. It can also be taken for an hour after meals.

What are the main side effects of orlistat?

like orlistat It prevents the absorption of part of the fat that is ingested in food, the side effects being mainly gastrointestinal.

Feces, intestinal cramps, diarrhea, and gas can be caused. In addition, there is an urgent need to eliminate fat with a higher amount of fat, a higher frequency of defecation and abdominal pain / discomfort after meals.

These side effects tend to improve over time with treatment. Generally, these symptoms are alleviated when a person is on a balanced diet and following a diet.

O orlistat it is barely absorbed by the body, so side effects outside the digestive system are considered rare.

What are the contraindications and who cannot take orlistat?

should not be used orlistat people with chronic changes in the absorption of nutrients in the intestines. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as there is no research on the safety of the medication in these conditions.

In addition, caution should be exercised by those who use anticonvulsants, as some cases of crisis have been reported in these situations.

In people who already use cyclosporine (immunosuppressive drugs used after some transplants) or amiodarone (Medications for Cardiac Arrhythmias) Reduced blood levels of these drugs have been observed during use. orlistat.

Who uses it warfarin (oral anticoagulant), you should evaluate your lab tests more often to see if the medication is effective. orlistat.

Does Orlistat need a prescription?

orlistat he doesn’t need a prescription to buy it. However, like most medicines, it should not be used without your doctor’s supervision and guidance.

What are the long-term risks?

It is a medication that can be used for a long time, but because it partially prevents the absorption of dietary fats, it usually leads to a decrease in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). In these cases, the need to use vitamin supplements is assessed in the people who use them orlistat.

Because it is directly related to fat synthesis, prolonged use can alter the fatty acid profile of the human body. This interferes with the functioning of activities that require fat, such as energy production, cell function, and neurological, immunological, and hormonal functions.

How long does orlistat take?

It depends on the doctor’s indication, but long-term use is safe. There is no maximum time to use orlistat. The doctor will assess whether the person benefits from the use of the medication.

Therefore, it is examined orlistat it is helping to lose weight or maintain lost weight. In addition, health experts should check that the side effects are well tolerated and acceptable.

Those who use it for a long time need supplements, especially fat-soluble vitamins. However, it is important to emphasize that all of these measures must be guided and controlled by a health care professional.

Can pregnant and breastfeeding women take orlistat?

There is no scientific research that guarantees the safety of use orlistat in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Therefore, it is not recommended for use by such people.

What are the risks of taking orlistat with alcohol?

No interaction was seen between uses orlistat and alcoholic beverages, therefore, do not pose a specific risk due to their concomitant use.

However, in addition to the consequences of consuming alcoholic beverages, alcohol is also a source of calories. Therefore, its consumption should be moderate to increase or regain weight.

Can children and the elderly use orlistat?

use of orlistat Not recommended for children or the elderly. This is because there is no research on the effectiveness and safety of the drug for this age group.

What do I do when I forget to take my medicine?

if you forget to take a dose of orlistat at meals, take as soon as possible, within an hour. Then return to treatment as usual.

Can Orlistat change the results of laboratory tests?

A few cases of alterations have been described in laboratory tests of liver function, as well as the causes of hepatitis (inflammation of the organ). But so far, no such use has been proven orlistat caused changes in laboratory tests.

What are the risks of quitting on your own?

It is important to avoid taking the advice of experts orlistat on its own. Improper interruption orlistat may jeopardize treatment and increase the risk of weight recovery. It is always necessary to have medical advice to discontinue use.


Fernanda Oltrovski Salespharmacist and coordinator of the pharmacy course at the PUC-PR (Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná); Jacqueline Rizzoliendocrinologist and director of Abeso (Brazilian Association for Research on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome), doctor at the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome at São Lucas Hospital, PUC-RS (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul); Renata ScalcoEndocrinologist of the São Camilo Hospital Network (SP) and Roberta Maria Dualiba Ferreira Reis, endocrinologist at UFMA University Hospital (Federal University of Maranhão), part of the Ebserh Network.

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