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Orlistat (Alli) An In depth Review

As a weight loss drug, Orlistat is said to have  been used in more than 25 million patient treatments in 145 countries worldwide. Orlistat has an extensive clinical history and has been studied in more than 100 controlled clinical trials. Alli is a 60-milligram, over-the-counter version of orlistat (Xenical), a 120-milligram prescription drug. Both Alli and Xenical are meant to be used as part of a weight-loss plan involving a low-calorie, low-fat diet and regular physical activity. Alli is approved for use in adults 18 and older who have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more. Designed to treat obesity, the effectiveness of Orlistat in promoting weight loss is definite but modest.

What ingredients are in Alli?

Alli (orlistat 60 mg) exists for oral administration in dark-blue, hard-gelatin capsules. Each of these capsules contain 60 mg of the active ingredient, orlistat. The capsules also contain some inactive ingredients, including FD&C Blue No. 2, edible ink, gelatin, iron dioxide, microcrystalli (orlistat 60 mg) cellulose, povidone, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium starch glycolate, talc, titanium dioxide.

Orlistat is the active ingredient in Alli and is the saturated derivative of lipstatin, a potent natural inhibitor of pancreatic lipases isolated from the bacterium Streptomyces toxytricini. However, orlistat was chosen over lipstatin for development as an anti-obesity drug because of its relative simplicity and stability. Its primary function is preventing the absorption of fats from the human diet by acting as a lipase inhibitor, thereby consequently reducing caloric intake.

Please note that it is only intended for use in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet supervised by a doctor or a reliable healthcare provider.

How Does Alli Work?

Belonging to a class of drugs called lipase inhibitors,  Alli is intended to promote weight loss by decreasing the amount of dietary fat absorbed in your intestines; it blocks the intestines from absorbing about 25% of the fat that you eat.

Orlistat inhibits the work of lipase; an enzyme found in the digestive tract, which helps break down dietary fat into smaller components, so it can be used or stored for energy. When you take the drug with a meal, about 25 percent of the fat you consume is not broken down; but is rather eliminated through bowel movements.

How Do I Take Alli?

The recommended dose of alli (orlistat 60 mg) for overweight adults (18 years and older) is 1 60-mg capsule. The drug is taken orally, either with a meal that contains a little bit of fat, or up to one hour afterward. When you take a meal that doesn’t contain fat, your doctor may advise you to skip your dose because it is important to follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet while taking this medication.

However, you should never take any dosage that exceeds the normal recommendation. If you eat a lot of fatty foods, you’re more likely to have uncomfortable digestive side effects. In general, no more than 30% of your calories at each meal should come from fat. When taking this drug, most of the weight loss occurs within the first 6 months. If you stop using alli (orlistat 60 mg), continue with a diet and exercise program. Should you start regaining weight after you stop taking the drug, you may need to start taking it again together with your diet and exercise program. Alli can reduce the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including beta carotene and vitamins A, D, E and K; so it is advisable that you take a multivitamin at bedtime and at least two hours after your last dose of Alli.

When Should I Not Take Alli?

Alli can interact with certain drugs, affecting their levels or how they work in your body, which could lead to life-threatening consequences. To this end;

  • Don’t use if you have had an organ transplant, since the drug can interfere with the medicines used to prevent transplant rejection.
  • If you you are allergic to any of the ingredients in alli (orlistat 60 mg) capsules, please do not use.
  • Don’t use the drug if taking cyclosporine; alli (orlistat 60 mg) can reduce levels of cyclosporine in the blood.
  • If you are on warfarin please talk with your doctor before taking alli (orlistat 60 mg).
  • If you have ever had gallbladder problems, kidney stones or pancreatitis, talk to a doctor about it
  • Don’t use if you are not overweight
  • Don’t use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Side Effects of Alli

Symptoms typically occur during the first few weeks of treatment. While side effects may be minor and not long lasting, it is important you take precaution to avoid escalation of symptoms.

These side effects can possibly be lessened if you watch out for hidden fat in food and stick with reduced-calorie meals that average 15 grams of fat per meal (or 30% fat or less). Loose stools and other bowel movement changes are the most common side effects of Alli. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms and they become severe or do not go away:

  • Difficulty controlling bowel movements
  • Loose, frequent stools
  • Oily or fatty stools
  • Stomach or rectum pain
  • Passing gas more often
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Headaches

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