Orlistat is used to treat obesity, including weight loss and weight maintenance. It is also used in overweight individuals who may also have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.
This medicine is meant to be taken as part of a comprehensive weight management programme that should include exercise, a healthy diet and lifestyle change.
Take Orlistat exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine should be taken before, during or up to 1 hour after each main meal. Swallow the capsule whole with a glass of water. Try to take it at the same time each day.
If you have missed a meal or if the meal contains no fat, you may not take that particular dose.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it has been more than 1 hour after your meal or if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- cholestasis (gallbladder problems)
- chronic malabsorption syndrome (inability of the bowel to absorb nutrients and fluids)
as Orlistat may not be suitable for you.
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Orlistat may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking this medicine.
Do not take this medicine if you are breastfeeding.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease
- kidney disease e.g. excess oxalate excretion in the urine, kidney stone
- thyroid gland disorder e.g. hypothyroidism
- eating disorder e.g. anorexia, bulimia
- fits or seizures
What lifestyle changes should I make to lose weight and maintain my ideal weight?
A healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are keys to helping you maintain your ideal weight. You should avoid relying only on medication to maintain your ideal weight.
Try to control the type and amount of food you eat at each meal. Include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. If you have not been exercising, start slow and gradually step up your exercise capacity. You will find that keeping to a regular exercise regimen is enjoyable and helps keep your weight off.
If stress causes you to reach out for snacks too often, replace unhealthy snacks with healthier choices. Learn to manage your stress levels. Alcohol also commonly causes weight gain. Try to avoid alcohol or set a limit on how much you drink.
Do not share this medicine with anyone else, even if they are overweight. This medicine may not be suitable for everyone.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver, kidney and thyroid function tests, cholesterol and sugar levels) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
- Regular monitoring of weight and diet (calorie and fat intake).
Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
Orlistat may cause any of the following side effects: oily stools, passing gas with oily discharge or spotting, stomach wind, urgent need to move your bowels.
Other side effects include any of the following: stomach discomfort, headache, anxiety, menstrual irregularities, tiredness and flu-like symptoms.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- loss of appetite
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
- light coloured stool
- dark urine
- stomach pain
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin
- ciclosporin (medicine for organ transplant or immune disorder)
- amiodarone (medicine for heart disease)
- levothyroxine (medicine for thyroid disease)
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. valproate, lamotrigine
- medicines for HIV infection e.g. atazanavir, ritonavir, tenofovir
- other weight loss products
Orlistat may reduce the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Your doctor may give you multivitamin supplements to prevent this lack of vitamins in your body. These supplements should be taken at least 2 hours before or after taking Orlistat.
Inform your doctor if you are currently taking birth control pills as this can reduce the effectiveness of this medicine. You should not stop or start any birth control pills without first informing your doctor. Ask your doctor about using non-hormonal birth control as an alternative while being treated with Orlistat.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
It is important to adhere to the dietary guidelines recommended by your doctor to maximise the benefits of Orlistat. Avoid over-consumption of fat and calories by distributing your daily fat, carbohydrate and protein intake evenly over three main meals. Avoid intake of fatty foods between meals.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.