How to Take Orlistat for Weight Loss
Taking Orlistat at the right time is very important, so let us help you get it right! We look at doses, timing, and how long treatment lasts.
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This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 16/05/2022 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

How to Take Orlistat for Weight Loss

 

Taking a new medication can be tricky, as you’re working out how your treatment fits into your daily routine.

 

It’s important to get it right from the get-go so you can get into the habit of taking your medication at the right time.

 

Orlistat is a weight management treatment that is available on prescription or over the counter, and it will need to be taken at certain times to work effectively.

 

Today, we’re going to look into how you should take Orlistat and when you’ll take each dose, so you can start your treatment off the right way.

 

How many Orlistat capsules should I take?

 

You should take one Orlistat capsule three times a day, one with each of your main meals.

 

This recommended dosage schedule is the same no matter whether you’re taking over the counter or prescription treatments.

 

It’s important to take each capsule with food, so make sure you find a way to remind yourself that it’s time to take your medication at mealtimes.

 

Can I take two capsules at once?

 

You shouldn’t take two Orlistat capsules at once unless you’ve been told to be a medical professional.

 

The dose of Orlistat you’re taking will have been determined by your prescriber or pharmacist and it’s important that you follow their dosage instructions carefully.

 

Doubling up on your medication means that you’ll run the risk of accidentally taking too much Orlistat and becoming unwell and it’s simply not worth the risk.

 

If you have questions about the dose you’re taking it’s best to ask your prescriber or pharmacist for advice, they’ll be able to clear up any sticking points you have.

 

Are 120mg capsules more effective than 60mg?

 

Naturally, 120mg Orlistat capsules are twice as strong as 60mg capsules, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be more effective for you.

 

Everyone is different and the dosage you’re taking will have been considered carefully by your prescriber or pharmacist before your treatment started.

 

Some people find that they experience more unpleasant side effects on higher doses of Orlistat and are happier with a 60mg dose, whereas others find that they can take the 120mg dose with very few side effects at all.

 

It’s best not to worry about the dosage you’re taking as long as your treatment seems to be working well, you’re seeing results, and your side effects are manageable.

 

However, if you’re concerned you should always speak to a healthcare professional and ask for their advice.

 

When should I take Orlistat?

 

You should take each of your three daily doses of Orlistat with one of your three main meals.

 

You can take the capsule before your meal, during the meal, or up to an hour after eating — it will work equally well if you take your medication at any of these times.

 

We recommend trying to fit your dose of Orlistat into your routine somehow to help you remember to take it.

 

For example, you may want to set a reminder on your phone that will alert you around the time you usually eat each meal.

 

This will help to keep your treatment on track, making sure you’re taking your medication properly and giving it the best opportunity to work as it should.

 

Do I need to take this medication with food?

 

Yes, you will need to take Orlistat with food.

 

This is because it works as a fat binder, so it will need some dietary fat to bind to!

 

If you’re not eating anything or are eating something that doesn’t contain any calories, Orlistat won’t work.

 

Make sure you take your medication with each of your three main meals and spread your fat intake throughout all of your meals for the best possible results.

 

How long should I take Orlistat?

 

The length of time your treatment will last can differ from person to person.

 

The time your treatment will take will depend on a few factors, including your starting weight and what a realistic healthy weight would look like for you.

 

For example, someone who has 100lbs to lose will have a lengthier treatment plan than someone who has 50lbs to lose.

 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what your weight loss goals should be, your prescriber or pharmacist can help you to work out a goal that will work for you.

 

They will probably use metrics like your BMI to work out what a healthy weight range would be for you and give you a reasonable idea of how much you’ll need to lose and how long this could take.

 

Remember, everyone’s journey is different, the most important thing is making healthier choices and finding a routine that works for you.

 

I’ve been taking Xenical – do I take Orlistat at the same time of day?

 

Xenical uses Orlistat as its active ingredient, so if you’ve already been taking Xenical you’ve been taking Orlistat.

 

So yes, your dosage schedule would be the same whether you’re taking Orlistat or Xenical.

 

The biggest difference between Xenical and other Orlistat treatments is its strength — Xenical is stronger than over the counter variants.

 

You and your prescriber may choose to make the switch from Xenical to other Orlistat treatments for a number of reasons.

 

You may save money with the unbranded treatment, you may need to adjust your dosage a little, or you may just find it easier to get your treatment over the counter from the pharmacy rather than getting a repeat prescription.

 

No matter the reason, you should only make changes to your treatment if your prescriber recommends them.

 

They will be able to make sure you change your weight management treatment safely and in a way that’s right for you.

 

Are two Alli capsules the same as one Xenical capsule?

 

Over the counter, Orlistat treatments like Alli are half the strength of the prescribed Xenical capsules.

 

Alli, Orlos and other Orlistat products available in pharmacies usually contain a 60mg dose in each capsule, whereas Xenical comes in 120mg capsules.

 

With that being said, you shouldn’t attempt to change your dose by taking more or fewer capsules at once, as this could be dangerous.

 

If you’re not sure whether the dose you’re taking is right for you you should speak to your prescriber, pharmacist or GP so they can assess how your treatment is going.

 

If they think it’s the right time to change your treatment they’ll help you to do so or they’ll explain why the dose you’re taking is the best option for you at the moment.

 

 

We hope you’re feeling much more confident about taking Orlistat now, but remember, if you ever have any questions then a medical professional should be your first port of call.

 

They’re the ones with the qualifications to help you, so don’t be shy! They’re here to help.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Orlistat or any of the other weight management treatments we provide here at myBMI, check out some of our other articles.

 

The more you know, the easier it will be to work out which treatment could work best for you and your lifestyle.

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