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Orlistat

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antiobesity Agent Xenical

Orlistat - What is it for

​Orlistat is used together with dietary changes to treat obesity. It works by reducing the body’s absorption of fats.

Orlistat - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Orlistat cause?

  • ​Oily stool and/or leaking of oil from the anus
    • This is due to how the medication works.
  • Abdominal distention (enlarged or swollen abdomen), stomach pain and bloating
    • You may consider reducing your fat intake to reduce these side effects.
  • Other common side effects of orlistat include headaches, flu-like symptoms such as cough and runny nose, low blood sugar level (which may include symptoms of shakiness, dizziness, sweating), sudden or increased number of bowel movements, tiredness or irregular menstrual periods in women.

Consult your healthcare professional if the symptoms do not go away or become bothersome.

Consult your healthcare professional immediately if you have

  • bleeding from the anus or blood in your stool or vomit
  • dark urine or light coloured stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellowing of your eyes or skin

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Orlistat, what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You have liver or kidney problems.
  • You have chronic malabsorption syndrome, a condition where you have problems absorbing nutrients from food.
  • You have cholestasis, a condition where the flow of bile from the liver is blocked.
  • You have diabetes.    

This medication may reduce the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and can cause low vitamin levels in rare cases, if taken continuously for a long time. You can take vitamin supplements that contain vitamin A, D, E and K to make sure you get enough nutrition.

You should eat a well-balanced diet and split your fat intake evenly over your three main meals. To find out more about planning a well-balanced diet, talk to your healthcare professional or dietitian.

Taking orlistat with a meal that contains a lot of fat may increase your chance of experiencing side effects such as bloating or oily, fatty stools. Avoid taking fatty food between meals.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Orlistat?

​If you are taking any multivitamin supplement, space orlistat at least two hours before or after taking the supplement.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking the following medication:

  • Anti-retroviral medications used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or hepatitis B infection.
  • Medications for seizures
  • Medications for diabetes such as Acarbose
  • Other medication such as Cyclosporin and Warfarin.

Orlistat - Dosage and How to Use

How should Orlistat be used?

  • ​Do not stop taking your medication or exceed the prescribed dose without checking with your healthcare professional.
  • Take the medication with water immediately before, during or up to one hour after each main meal that contains fat. If you miss a meal or your meal does not contain any fat, you do not have to take the medication.    

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember if it is within one hour after your last main meal that contains fat. Take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Orlistat - Handling and Storage

How should I handle Orlistat safely?

How should I store Orlistat?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

How should I dispose of Orlistat safely?

​Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.

Orlistat - Additional Information

  • Updated on Monday, September 30, 2019
  • This article is contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

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