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Orlistat

Pronunciation

Generic Name: orlistat (OR li stat)
Brand Names: alli, Xenical

What is orlistat?

Orlistat blocks some of the fat that you eat, keeping it from being absorbed by your body.

Orlistat is used together with a reduced-calorie diet and weight maintenance to treat obesity in people with certain risk factors (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol or triglycerides).

Orlistat may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to orlistat, or if you have gallbladder problems, or chronic malabsorption syndrome (an inability to absorb food and nutrients properly).

Before taking orlistat, tell your doctor if you have an underactive thyroid, a history of gallstones or pancreatitis, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, an eating disorder, liver disease, or if you take other weight-loss medications (prescription or over-the-counter).

Do not give over-the-counter orlistat (alli) to a child younger than 18 years old. Prescription orlistat (Xenical) should not be used by anyone age 12 to 18 without the advice of a doctor. This medication should be used only by the person it was prescribed or recommended for and should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of eating disorder. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

Slideshow: Newly Approved Weight Loss Drugs: Can They Help You?

Orlistat is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Your daily intake of fat, protein, and carbohydrates should be evenly divided over all of your daily meals. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Avoid a diet that is high in fat. High-fat meals taken in combination with orlistat can increase your risk of unpleasant side effects on your stomach or intestines.

It is dangerous to purchase orlistat on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of "Alli" purchased on the Internet have been found to contain sibutramine (Meridia), a prescription weight loss medication that can have dangerous side effects in certain people. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Before taking this medicine

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to orlistat, or if you have:

  • chronic malabsorption syndrome (an inability to absorb food and nutrients properly); or

  • gallbladder problems.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take orlistat:

  • an underactive thyroid;

  • a history of gallstones;

  • a history of pancreatitis;

  • liver disease;

  • type 1 or type 2 diabetes;

  • an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia); or

  • if you take any other weight-loss medications (prescription or over-the-counter).

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Taking orlistat can make it harder for your body to absorb certain vitamins. These vitamins are important if you are nursing a baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Do not give over-the-counter orlistat (alli) to a child younger than 18 years old. Prescription orlistat (Xenical) should not be used by anyone age 12 to 18 without the advice of a doctor. This medication should be used only by the person it was prescribed or recommended for and should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of eating disorder. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

How should I take orlistat?

Take orlistat exactly as directed on the label, or as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Orlistat is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Your daily intake of fat, protein, and carbohydrates should be evenly divided over all of your daily meals. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water. Take orlistat during or within 1 hour after a meal that contains some fat (no more than 30% of the calories for that meal). Orlistat is usually taken 3 times daily.

If you skip a meal or you eat a meal that does not contain any fat, skip your orlistat dose for that meal.

The fat content of your daily diet should not be greater than 30% of your total daily caloric intake. For example, if you eat 1200 calories per day, no more than 360 of those calories should be in the form of fat.

Read the label of all food items you consume, paying special attention to the number of servings per container. Your doctor, nutrition counselor, or dietitian can help you develop a healthy eating plan.

Your doctor may recommend you take vitamin and mineral supplements while you are taking orlistat. This medication can make it harder for your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type of multi-vitamin or mineral supplement to use.

Take the supplement at least 2 hours before or after you take orlistat.

Store orlistat at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed.

Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Orlistat is a drug that may be misused as a weight-loss aid, and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, but no more than 1 hour after eating a meal. If it has been more than an hour since your last meal, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

If you miss a meal, or if you have a meal without fat, you can skip your dose of orlistat for that meal also.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid?

Avoid a diet that is high in fat. High-fat meals taken in combination with orlistat can increase your risk of unpleasant side effects on your stomach or intestines.

Orlistat side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop taking orlistat and call your doctor at once if you have severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, and a fast heart rate. These could be signs of pancreatitis.

The following side effects occur commonly with the use of orlistat. They are the natural effects of orlistat's fat-blocking action and are actually signs that the medication is working properly. These side effects are usually temporary and may lessen as you continue treatment with orlistat:

  • oily spotting in your undergarments;

  • oily or fatty stools;

  • orange or brown colored oil in your stool;

  • gas with discharge, an oily discharge;

  • loose stools, or an urgent need to go to the bathroom, inability to control bowel movements;

  • an increased number of bowel movements;

  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rectal pain; or

  • weakness, dark urine, clay-colored stools, itching, loss of appetite, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Other side effects that may occur while taking orlistat include:

  • problems with your teeth or gums;

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, cough;

  • fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms;

  • headache, back pain; or

  • mild skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect orlistat?

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • insulin or diabetes medications you take by mouth;

  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);

  • levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid); or

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with orlistat. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about orlistat.

What does my medication look like?

Orlistat is available with a prescription under the brand name Xenical, and in a reduced strength as an over-the-counter brand called alli. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Xenical 120 mg-dark-blue, hard-gelatin capsules

  • alli 60 mg-medium-blue, hard-gelatin capsules

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.01. Revision Date: 01/28/2010 12:52:11 PM.

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