Alli is the first over the counter (OTC) weight loss pill to be approved by the FDA. The active ingredient in Alli is the generic drug orlistat. Orlistat is also the active ingredient in the branded prescription diet medication, Xenical. Alli has half the dosage of orlistat than Xenical, due to this reduced quantity of the active ingredient Alli has been considered safe enough for people to use without the need of a doctor’s prescription.

Alli is designed to help the overweight control their eating habits in order to aid their weight loss.

How does Alli work?

Alli works by blocking enzymes in the body that naturally break down fats so that they may easily be absorbed by the body. When taking Alli some fats will be absorbed in the natural manner and processed normally. Those fats that are not broken down will pass through the body unabsorbed and excreted undigested.

What does Alli look like?

Alli® Capsules:
Dark blue
Hard gelatin capsule
60 mg orlistat (active ingredient)
Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline

What is Alli prescribed for?

Alli is an over the counter medication so a doctor’s prescription is unnecessary. Alli reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the body from the food you consume, it is used an aid to help weight loss.

Who should use Alli?

Alli is intended for use amongst overweight adults of 18+ years. A person’s weight category is determined by their BMI (Body Mass Index). Governmental guidelines state that someone with a BMI of 25 or above, a BMI of 30+ is classed as obese.

Who should not take Alli?

Alli is not advised for use amongst people with a BMI of lower than 25.

You should not take Alli if you have problems digesting foods or have problems with your gallbladder.

What should I tell my doctor before taking Alli?

Although it is not believe that the use of Alli would affect an unborn baby it is important to tell your doctor is you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding whilst taking Alli. Mothers should be aware that a percentage of multivitamins that are particular important whilst nursing an infant may also be blocked by Alli.

You should inform your doctor if you have any of the following before taking Alli:

  • an allergy to orlistat or any of the other ingredients found in Alli.
  • an underactive thyroid
  • a history of kidney stones
  • a history of pancreatitis
  • type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia) or
  • if you take any other weight-loss medications (prescription or over-the-counter).


Patients using any of the medicines listed below should talk with their doctor before taking Alli:

  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps) or
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Recommended Alli dosage

Alli is supplied with detailed information that informs users of how to take Alli and what other measures and adjustments need to be taken. Alli is an over the counter medication but you should contact your doctor for professional medical advice if you have any questions or concerns about taking it.

Based on a three meal a day diet, one Alli 60mg capsule should be taken with each meal that contains fat. Alli is to be used in conjunction with a restricted calorie diet and each meal should contain an average no more than 15mg of fat. If there is no fat content in a meal it is unnecessary to take Alli. No more than 3 capsules should be taken per day.

Whilst using Alli it is recommend that multivitamins are taken daily just before bed as the absorption of those naturally found in the foods you consume during the day may also be reduced.

Possible side effects of Alli

Loose stools
Increased frequency of stools
An urgent need to go to the bathroom which may be hard to control.
Gas accompanied by oily spotting

The above Alli side effects can be reduced by eating meals with lower levels of fat content. Users of Alli need to educate themselves on the hidden fats in foods and be aware that as individuals’ daily calorie consumption will vary (typically between 1500 -1800) 15mg is an average figure.

Alli Ingredients

  • Active Alli ingredient:
    60 mg orlistat (half the amount used in the prescription med Xenical 120mg)
  • Inactive Alli ingredients:
    FD&C Blue No. 2
    Edible ink
    Iron dioxide
    Microcrystalline cellulose
    Sodium lauryl sulfate
    Sodium starch glycolate
    Titanium dioxide

Who makes Alli?

Alli is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. British based GlaxoSmithKline are one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, biological and healthcare companies.