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 other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

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 this medication:

  • an underactive thyroid;
  • a history of kidney stones;
  • a history of pancreatitis;
  • 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.

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.

Orlistat 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.

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.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an orlistat overdose are not known.

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.

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

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
  • skin rash or itching.

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.

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Interactions

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.

Other Names

Xenical, alli, and orlistat

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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 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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