Manufacturer: Roche, Switzerland
Pharmaceutical name: Orlistat
Pack: 42 caps (120 mg/cap)
capsules contain the active ingredient , which is a type of medicine called a lipase inhibitor. It is used to aid weight loss in people who are overweight or obese.
Orlistat is not absorbed into the bloodstream, but works locally in the stomach and small intestine, where it prevents the action of two compounds found in the digestive juices. These compounds (known as enzymes) are called gastric and pancreatic lipases. They normally break down fats that we consume in our diet.
The fats we consume in our diets are made of molecules that are too large to be absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. They need to be broken down into smaller molecules during the process of digestion, in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Gastric and pancreatic lipases are the compounds in the gut that carry out this function.
Orlistat works by preventing gastric and pancreatic lipases from working. One Xenical capsule is taken three times a day at mealtimes to prevent fat that is eaten in the meals from being broken down and absorbed by the body. This means the body cannot use the fat as a source of energy, or convert it into fat tissue. Instead, the fat is excreted in the faeces. This helps weight loss.
Xenical should be used in conjunction with increased physical activity and a reduced calorie, lower fat diet. Approximately 30 per cent of your daily calories should come from fat, and your daily intake of fat, carbohydrate and protein should be spread evenly over your three main meals. For example, for a diet of 1400 calories per day, each meal should contain approximately 15 grams of fat. The actual calorie intake and fat consumption that you should follow will depend on your initial weight and level of physical activity - there is guidance provided in the package leaflet, and your doctor or pharmacist can also advise.
Xenical is prescribed to aid weight loss in obese people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30kg/m² or more. It can also be prescribed to overweight people who have a BMI of 28kg/m² or more, if they also have additional risk factors for obesity-related diseases.
* This medicine should be taken immediately before, during, or up to one hour after each main meal. If a meal is missed, or contains no fat, you should leave out the dose. This is because the medicine will have no effect if no fat has been consumed.
* Do not take more than three capsules per day.
* As this medicine works by preventing the absorption of fat, you are more likely to experience digestive side effects such as wind, oily spotting from the rectum, sudden bowel motions, and soft, fatty or oily stools, if you take the medicine with a meal that is very high in fat.
* This medicine may potentially impair the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) from the gut. To ensure you receive adequate nutrition, your diet should be rich in fruit and vegetables. Your doctor may also recommend a multivitamin supplement. If you do take a multivitamin supplement, it should be taken at least 2 hours after your orlistat dose, or at bedtime.
* If you experience severe or persistant rectal bleeding while taking this medicine you should consult your doctor so that this can be investigated.
* This medicine can cause diarrhoea, which if severe, can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills. Women taking the pill for contraception should therefore use an additional method of contraception, eg condoms, to prevent pregnancy, if they experience severe diarrhoea while taking this medicine. Follow the instructions in the leaflet provided with your pill.
* Your doctor may ask you to stop treatment if you have been unable to lose at least five per cent of your body weight after 12 weeks of treatment with this medicine.
* Once you stop taking this medicine it is important to continue to follow a healthy, balanced diet and take regular exercise to make sure the weight you have lost stays off.