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XENICAL - a patient's guide


This drug helps with weight loss in overweight patients. This article profiles the product and its side effects.

DRUG NAME: orlistat

USE: Anti-obesity

Xenical is a long-term weight control medication indicated for the management of obesity. It works by inhibiting the absorption of fat, interfering with the activity of enzymes (lipases) which break down dietary fats. This allows about 30% of the fat intake from meals to pass through the gut undigested, preventing the body converting these excess calories often to fatty tissue.

This medicine can help you reduce weight or maintain a lower weight by reducing the absorption of fat from the bowel, not by suppressing your appetite.


Chronic malabsorption syndrome

Pregnancy and breastfeeding (discuss with doctor)

Side effects:

Occasional flatulence (wind), increased urgency to open the bowels, oily discharge or fatty stools.


Xenical can enhance the effect of lipid lowering medicines and reduce the absorption of supplements of some fat soluble nutrients (such as beta-carotene and vitamin E).

Patient information:

  • Follow instructions carefully on the label of this medicine.
  • It is recommended that this medicine is taken THREE TIMES DAILY after meals and a large glass of water.
  • Weight loss is gradual (approximately 10% of total body weight), and usually takes several weeks to start.
  • A diet high in fat will increase the likelihood of changes in bowel habits, such as fatty or oily stools.
  • Further information on Xenical can be obtained from your doctor or pharmacist.

See also:

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