Xenical (orlistat) is a prescription weight loss medication. Xenical belongs to a group of drugs called lipase inhibitors, which work by preventing the absorption of fat in your body.
Xenical is a prescription medicine used to help obese people lose weight and keep this weight off. Xenical should be used together with a reduced-calorie diet that your doctor will recommend.
Because Xenical works by blocking the absorption of dietary fat, it is likely that you will experience some changes in bowel habits. These generally occur during the first weeks of treatment; however, they may continue throughout your use of Xenical.
These changes may include
- oily spotting
- gas with discharge
- urgent need to go to the bathroom
- oily or fatty stools
- an oily discharge
- increased number of bowel movements,
- and inability to control bowel movements.
- Due to the presence of undigested fat, the oil seen in a bowel movement may be clear or have a coloration such as orange or brown.
These bowel changes are a natural effect of blocking the fat from being absorbed and indicate that Xenical is working. They generally occur early in treatment, particularly after meals containing higher amounts of fat than are recommended. These symptoms are often temporary and may lessen or disappear as you continue treatment and keep to your recommended diet of meals containing no more than about 30% fat. However, these side effects may occur in some individuals over a period of 6 months or longer.
- In obese adolescent patients treated with Xenical, the side effects reported were similar to those observed in adults.
- If you are concerned about these or any other side effects you experience while taking Xenical, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Be sure to discuss with your doctor all medications (including herbal products) you are currently taking, including medicines you can get without a prescription (over-the-counter), to determine if Xenical can be taken in addition to these medications.
- If you are taking cyclosporine, Xenical and cyclosporine should be taken at least 2 hours apart.
- If your cyclosporine levels are being measured, more frequent monitoring may be necessary.
- If you are taking levothyroxine, Xenical and levothyroxine should be taken at least 4 hours apart.
You should not use Xenical if you:
- consistently have problems absorbing food (chronic malabsorption); or
- have gallbladder problems; or
- are pregnant or are breastfeeding a child; or
- have ever had an allergic reaction to orlistat or any of the inactive ingredients in Xenical.
Xenical has been shown to reduce the absorption of certain vitamins. You should take a multivitamin containing vitamins D, E, K, and beta-carotene once a day at least 2 hours before or after the administration of Xenical, such as at bedtime.
Some patients taking Xenical may develop an increased risk for the development of kidney stones. Promptly report any symptoms of back pain or blood in the urine.
Some patients prescribed Xenical may already be at increased risk for the formation of gall stones. Weight loss with Xenical can increase the risk of gall stones. Promptly report any symptoms of pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen. The pain may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
There have been rare reports of severe liver injury in patients taking Xenical. Promptly discontinue Xenical and contact your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms suggestive of liver impairment, such as loss of appetite, itching, yellowing of the skin, dark urine, light colored stools, or right upper quadrant pain.
You should use Xenical together with a nutritionally balanced, mildly reduced-calorie diet that contains no more than about 30% of calories from fat.
Read all food labels and avoid foods that have more than 30% fat.
Before beginning treatment with Xenical, make sure your doctor knows if you are:
- allergic to any medicines, foods, or dyes;
- taking any other weight-loss medication;
- taking cyclosporine;
- taking thyroid medicine;
- taking any other medicines (including those not prescribed by your doctor);
- taking any dietary supplements, including herbal products;
- planning to become pregnant; or
- anorexic or bulimic.
This information will help you and your physician decide if the expected advantages of Xenical are greater than any possible disadvantages.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Xenical should not be used during pregnancy as it may harm your unborn baby.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Xenical is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.
- The recommended dose is one 120 mg capsule by mouth with liquid at each main meal that contains fat. You can take Xenical in conjunction with a mildly reduced-calorie diet up to 3 times a day.
- Each time you take Xenical, your meal should contain no more than about 30% of calories from fat.
- Take Xenical during meals or up to one hour after a meal. If you occasionally miss a meal or have a meal without fat, you can omit your dose of Xenical.
- Doses greater than 120 mg three times a day have not been shown to provide an additional weight loss benefit.
- You should use Xenical together with a nutritionally balanced, mildly reduced-calorie diet that contains no more than about 30% of calories from fat.
- You should evenly divide your daily intake of fat, carbohydrates, and protein over 3 main meals.
- You should try to follow a healthy eating plan such as the one developed by the American Heart Association.
- Following this eating plan will help you lose weight while decreasing some of the possible gastrointestinal effects you may experience while taking Xenical.
- The use of Xenical for more than 4 years has not been studied. You and your doctor should discuss how long you should use Xenical.
Take Xenical exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
The recommended dose is one 120 mg capsule by mouth with liquid at each main meal that contains fat. You can take Xenical in conjunction with a mildly reduced-calorie diet up to 3 times a day.
If you take too much Xenical, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
Xenical is available in 120 mg capsules (dark-blue and turquoise).
Active ingredient: Orlistat
- dark-blue capsule: microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate Type A Potato, sodium lauryl sulfate, povidone, talc, gelatin, titanium dioxide, FD&C Blue No. 1, shellac, aluminum oxide.
- turquoise capsule: microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate Type A Potato, sodium lauryl sulfate, povidone, talc, gelatin, titanium dioxide, FD&C Blue No. 2, shellac, alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, ammonia, potassium hydroxide, ferrosoferric oxide.
- You must use Xenical with a recommended mildly reduced-calorie diet. You should also follow a program of regular physical activity, such as walking.
- However, before you undertake any activity or exercise program, be sure to speak with your doctor or health care professional.
To Reduce Dietary Fat:
- To help you get started on reducing the fat in your diet to around 30%, read the labels on all the foods you buy. You should avoid foods that contain more than 30% fat while you are taking Xenical.
- When eating meat, poultry or fish, limit your portion to 2 or 3 ounces (roughly the size of a deck of cards). Choose lean cuts of meat and remove the skin from poultry. Fill up your meal plate by including more grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Replace whole-milk products with nonfat or 1% milk and nonfat, reduced-fat, or low-fat dairy items.
- Cook with less fat. Use vegetable oil spray when cooking. Salad dressings, many baked items, and prepackaged, processed, and fast foods are usually high in fat. Use the low- or non-fat versions and/or cut back on serving sizes.
- When dining out, ask how foods are prepared and request that they be prepared with little or no added fat.