Can You Buy Orlistat Over the Counter?
We look at the difference between over the counter and prescription Orlistat, where you can get them. and why you may need one rather than the other.
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This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 31/05/2022 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

Can You Buy Orlistat Over the Counter?

 

The Difference Between Pharmacy and Prescription Treatment


If you’re considering taking Orlistat you may be wondering whether you should get your medication from the pharmacy or via prescription.

 

There are a few factors that will determine how your treatment may go and whether or not you would need a prescription and we’re happy to be able to clear them up for you.

 

We’re going to take a good look at the difference between the over the counter and prescription treatments, where you can get them, and why you may need one rather than the other.

 

Let’s start by explaining where you can get Orlistat in the first place.

 

Where can I buy Orlistat capsules?


You can buy Orlistat from most pharmacies, whether that be online or in person.

 

If you do buy yours from a pharmacy, rather than getting a prescription, you will be given a lower strength treatment.

 

This may be ideal for you — not everyone needs prescription strength Orlistat — but if you feel that it isn’t working for you you should speak to your GP or prescriber of choice.

 

Orlistat is available on prescription, often under the brand name Xenical, but your prescriber will be the one to have the final say over your treatment.

 

With that being said, you shouldn’t be disheartened if your prescriber doesn’t recommend the prescription strength treatment for you.

 

It may be that Orlistat just isn’t the right medication for you, or that there are other things you can try to help you lose weight while you’re taking the over the counter version.

 

Either way, your prescriber will be able to explain their decision and what you should do next.

 

Can I buy Orlistat over the counter in the UK?


Yes, you can buy Orlistat over the counter from UK pharmacies.

 

However, you will need to answer some questions from the pharmacy team before they will agree to provide it to you.

 

Most of these questions are commonplace when purchasing any over the counter treatment, for example, you’ll usually be asked whether you’re taking any other medications and what you’re taking.

 

Some of the other questions will be more specific to Orlistat, for example, they will probably ask for your height and weight as a way to work out your BMI.

 

You will only be able to take Orlistat if you have a BMI or 30 or above or a BMI of 28 and above with a risk of developing type 2 diabetes, so your pharmacist will need to know this information.

 

They may also ask whether you’ve tried anything else during your weight loss journey, as this will help give them a better idea of why you may be seeking treatment and whether it would be right for you or not.

 

What is the difference between over the counter and prescription Orlistat?


The biggest difference between over the counter and prescription Orlistat is the strength of the medication.

 

If you get your Orlistat over the counter, you will be given 60mg capsules.

 

These are available from a few different brands, including Alli and Orlos, but they all contain the same active ingredient and will work in the same way.

 

If you have a prescription for Orlistat, it can be for either 60mg or 120mg capsules, also known as Xenical.

 

The strength you will be prescribed will depend on how your prescriber has chosen to carry out your treatment.

 

For example, they may choose to start you on 60mg capsules before moving up to 120mg doses later on.

 

No matter which strength you’re given, you’ll take one capsule three times a day, one with every main meal.

 

How do I get an Orlistat prescription?


There are a couple of ways you can get a prescription for Orlistat, but both will involve a consultation with a qualified prescriber.

 

The first way is to go to your GP who will be able to refer you to the NHS’s weight management services, where weight loss medications can be prescribed at certain tiers.

 

However, it’s important to note that this service focuses on lifestyle changes first before offering weight loss medications.

 

This is because building healthier habits, like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly is the key to losing weight and maintaining your loss over time.

 

The second method is to have a consultation with a private prescriber, like ours here at myBMI.

 

We offer online consultations that you can complete at a time that suits you which are then reviewed by our prescribing team.

 

They will use your answers to determine whether Orlistat is right for you and if they’re happy to write a prescription our partner pharmacy will send it out to an address of your choice in discreet packaging.

 

Can I get weight-loss medications without speaking to a medical professional?

 

At the moment, all licensed weight loss medications can only be obtained through a prescriber or pharmacist.

 

This is to keep these medications from being abused or misused, which is a very real possibility with weight management treatments.

 

By ensuring that patients go through a medical professional, the governing bodies that license these medications are complying with their duty of care.

 

Having medical professionals review each patient on a case-by-case basis reduces the risk of patients taking medication they don’t need or taking medication that could make them ill.

 

This is why guidelines like a minimum BMI are in place for medications like Orlistat, they help medical professionals to be sure that you could benefit from a weight management treatment.

 

 

There we have it, all of the information you need about where to get Orlistat and the type of medical professionals you’ll need to speak to in the process.

 

If you’re considering weight management treatment or want to learn more about Orlistat, why not check out some of our other articles?

 

Here are a few of our most popular articles to get you started along your weight loss journey, whether that be with medication or without.

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