Orlistat works as a potent weight loss medication. It is offered under the aegis of various brand names such as Alli from GSK in Greece, Xenical from Roche in Italy as well as Obelit from Intas Pharma. The way it works is that it prevents parts of the fat which we consume in our day to day lives from being absorbed into our bodies in the very first place.
Accordingly, Orlistat has proven its merit time and again as a means for weight loss management among those who are already on a low or at least reduced calorie diet whereby it proves ideal for those suffering from say obesity or have been instructed to lose weight in accordance with high risk situations such as high cholesterol or blood pressure.
Of course Orlistat has been prescribed for various situations, conditions or reasons beyond these as well.
Orlistat is not meant for pregnant women at all even if they happen to be overweight or obese. Then patients with chronic malabsorption syndrome or gallbladder problems should avoid taking Orlistat as well.
Furthermore health conditions about which your doctor must know before you are put on a Orlistat regimen include liver or kidney diseases, diabetes whether type 1 or 2, hypothyroidism, and a history of pancreatitis in the family. Then your doctor must also know about any prescription or OTC medicines that you might be taking at the moment.
It is important that those between 12 and 18 years do not take Orlistat without first consulting a doctor.
Most importantly, taking Orlistat alone is unlikely to prove enough to lose weight and eventually to maintain a balanced weight. Rather, it has to be very well complemented by exercises as recommended by the doctor. Then it also has to be accompanied by a very well balanced diet which is rich in fiber and carbohydrates while being low in fat. This kind of an overall disciplined regimen has to be maintained if Orlistat ingestion really has to prove beneficial.
Prior to taking Orlistat
Make sure that your doctor is well aware of your medical history, especially any medications that you might be taking.
Never take Orlistat if you are pregnant; it is anyway not recommended that you try to lose weight while you are pregnant. And just in case you get pregnant while getting on to a weight loss regimen which includes Orlistat, avoid taking the medication as soon as you are sure about your pregnancy.
Moreover, even after delivery, while women are still nursing their babies with mother’s milk, it is still advisable that Orlistat is given a miss; that is because it tends to reduce the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients, especially vitamins. While nursing, this would mean that the baby too would receive fewer vitamins than the norm, which would of course not be a desirable situation at all.
The first step to taking Orlistat is to follow instructions thoroughly, both as given by the doctor as well as, as written on the packaging. You must not deviate from instructions either way. This includes time lines for which the medication is to be taken as well as the advisable quantity.
When it comes to your meals, take Orlistat after 1 hour of a balanced diet which is low on fat. It can be taken up to 3 times a day, after each meal or as maybe prescribed by your doctor. Remember that Orlistat is not a drug to be taken if you are not taking any fat in your meals at all or perhaps are skipping meals altogether; if you are doing so, then avoid taking the drug as well. Bear in mind that the proportion of fat in your meal also matters – it should not be more than 30% of the calories that you are getting from your food.
It is possible that your doctor might prescribe certain supplements like vitamins or minerals to go along with your Orlistat regimen. It is very important that you take these supplements exactly as prescribed without fail.
Then ensure that you store Orlistat properly in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight or moisture. It should also be kept away from children or pets that could in anyway misuse the medication if they had access to it.
Missing a Dose
If you miss a dose, you can always take the next one. But it should not be more than an hour after your last meal; if so, then you might as well take the next dose. Under no condition should you take additional doses simply to make up for the dose(s) you missed. Of course if you miss a meal or take one which is completely fat less, then you can skip taking Orlistat till the next meal which fulfills these conditions.
Just in case you overdose, you can call the Poison helpline on 1-800-222-1222 without further ado.
An important precaution to maintain while taking Orlistat would be to consume a diet which is low to moderate in fat but definitely not one which is very high in fat, which will only cause undue hardship to the intestines and the stomach.
Orlistat can possibly have side effects such as swellings on various parts of the body be it the tongue, throat, lips or the face; difficulties in breathing; or hives. These are essentially allergic reactions.
There can be other more serious reactions as well such as sudden weight gain, severe pain in the stomach, little or no urine or even bloody urine, extreme pain in the lower back, vomiting, loss of appetite, mood swings or behavioral changes, drowsiness, or a general state of confusion.
Further, there can be other side effects which are typically signs of the medication doing its job in terms of natural fat blockage such as oily discharge, increased bowel movements, fatty or oily stools, clay colored stools, signs of jaundice such as yellowness in the eyes or the skin, brown or orange colored oil in the stool and so on.
There could be other side effects of Orlistat beyond the above such as feeling cold, problems in the teeth, rashes in the skin, or headache.
Note that in spite of such a vast range of side effects listed above, there can be other side effects of Orlistat as well. Therefore, feel free to discuss with your doctor in case of any major discomfort. You can also call the FDA on 1-800-FDA-1088.
Typical Orlistat dosage would be the 120 mg medication being taken three times a day along with a primary meal that contains at least some degree of fat in it. You can take it either along with the meal or just after within an hour. Your doctor may prescribe some other regimen, it is important that you stick to it.
Interaction with other Medications
Orlistat can react with other medications such as vitamin or mineral supplements that contain beta carotene or Vitamin E; cyclosporine; evothyroxine; insulin medicines; as well as blood thinners like warfarin. It could react with other medications as well so it is best that your doctor is aware of all other medications that you are taking or will be taking along with Orlistat.
|US Brand Name||Alli|