Orlistat Weight Management

Information About Orlistat – also known as Xenical (Brand Name)

Xenical (Zen-nik-al) is a medicine which is used in obesity. Xenical contains orlistat. It is supplied by Roche Products Limited.

The information in this Medicine Guide for Xenical varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.

Your medicine

Xenical is used in the treatment of obesity. Xenical prevents your body from absorbing the fat from the food you eat. By reducing the amount of fat which is absorbed, Xenical can help you to lose weight more easily.

Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.

The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should use. It also tells you how often you should use your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should use. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.

If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.

Whether this medicine is suitable for you

Xenical is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.

Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:

  • are allergic or sensitive to or have had a reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine
  • are breast-feeding
  • are elderly
  • have cholestasis
  • have chronic malabsorption syndrome
  • have epilepsy
  • have hypothyroidism
  • have kidney problems
  • have liver problems
  • have risk factors for a reduced volume of fluid in the body

Xenical is not used in children.

Over time it is possible that Xenical can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Xenical has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.


Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.

In the case of Xenical:

  • there are no known interactions between alcohol and Xenical


Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.

In the case of Xenical:

  • this medicine may reduce your body’s ability to absorb Vitamins D, A, E and K from your food. Your prescriber may advise you to take a multivitamin supplement
  • you should continue on the diet advised by your dietician or prescriber while taking Xenical. It is recommended to spread your daily intake of fat evenly over three main meals as having a meal high in fat with Xenical will lead to an increase in gastrointestinal side effects

You need to make sure that there are enough of these vitamins in your diet. For more information contact your prescriber.

Driving and operating machinery

When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

In the case of Xenical:

  • this medicine will not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery

You should see how this medicine affects you before you judge whether you are safe to drive or operate machinery. If you are in any doubt about whether you should drive or operate machinery, talk to your prescriber.

Family planning and pregnancy

Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Xenical:

  • you should only use this medicine during pregnancy if your doctor thinks that you need it

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.

If the decision is that you should not have Xenical, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.


Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Xenical:

  • women who are breast-feeding must not use this medicine

Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. If you wish to breast-feed you should discuss with your prescriber whether there are any other medicines you could take which would also allow you to breast-feed. You should not stop this medicine without taking advice from your doctor.

Taking other medicines

If you are taking more than one medicine they may interact with each other. At times your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, in other cases this may not be appropriate.

The decision to use medicines that interact depends on your specific circumstances. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, if it is believed that the benefits of taking the medicines together outweigh the risks. In such cases, it may be necessary to alter your dose or monitor you more closely.

Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.

The following medicines may interact with Xenical:

  • acarbose
  • amiodarone
  • ciclosporin
  • iodine salts
  • lamotrigine
  • levothyroxine
  • valproate
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K
  • warfarin

The following types of medicine may interact with Xenical:

  • antidiabetics
  • antiepileptics
  • oral anticoagulants
  • oral contraceptives

If you are taking Xenical and one of the above medicines or types of medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.

Complementary preparations and vitamins

Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins.

Make sure you tell your prescriber the names of all the complementary preparations and vitamins that you are taking or are planning to take.

Your prescriber can then decide whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact.

In the case of Xenical:

  • this medicine may interact with vitamin A, D, E and K

If you have been prescribed Xenical you should only take something on the above list on the specific advice of your prescriber or pharmacist.

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