Xenical is a weight loss drug intended to treat obesity. It is an alternative to the appetite suppressant Phentermine.

How does Xenical® work?

Xenical reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the body. It contains the active ingredient orlistat.

Enzymes in your digestive system break down the fats that you consume into smaller molecules so they may be easily absorbed further along the digestive process. Xenical (orlistat) attaches to the enzymes and prevents them from reducing the size of the fat particles. These larger fat particles cannot be absorbed by the body and so pass through with a bowel movement and are excreted in the faeces.

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Roche, the pharmaceutical company that manufacturers Xenical, claim that Xenical will block approximately 30% of the fats consumed from being absorbed.

As reduced levels of fats are absorbed Xenical patients lose weight.

What does Xenical® look like?

Dark blue hard gelatin capsule
Imprinted with Roche and XENICAL 120 in light blue writing
120mg orlistat (active ingredient)

What is Xenical® prescribed for?

Xenical is a weight loss drug that is designed to be used in cases of obese patients who have large amounts of weight to lose in order to reach a healthy weight level.

Who should Xenical® be prescribed for?

Xenical is only advised for use amongst patients with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of equal to, or greater than 30. Or amongst patients with a BMI of equal to, or greater than 27 when other risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes or dyslipidermia are present.

Who should not take Xenical®?

You should not take Xenical if you:

  • have problems digesting foods.
  • have problems with your gallbladder.
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding an infant.

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Recommended dosages

Recommended dosage is usually one 120mg capsule, three times daily to be taken at meal times.

A Xenical patient’s diet should be nutritionally well balanced diet with approximately 30% of calories from fat. Levels of protein, carbohydrates and fat consumed throughout one day should ideally be spread as evenly as possible over 3 main meals. If a meal contains very little or no fat then a dosage of Xenical can be missed.

It is recommended that users of Xenical supplement their diet with multivitamin tablets as Xenical is also known to block some vitamin particles. Take supplements two hours before or after a dosage of Xenical.

Possible side effects

Headache Oily spotting from the rectum Abdominal pain
Flatulence with discharge Oily or fatty stools Diarrhoea
Pain or discomfort in the rectum Infections of the airways Low blood sugar levels
Faecal incontinence Fatigue Urinary tract infection
Irregular menstrual cycle Anxiety Tooth or gum disorders
Diverticulitis Gall stones Raised liver enzymes
Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)

What should I tell my doctor before taking Xenical?

Before taking any new medication it is important to tell your doctor of your medical history. Include family history and any prescription or non-prescription drugs you are current on or have previously taken. Also tell you doctor if you are pregnant or expect to become pregnant.

Who makes Xenical®?

Xenical is a branded version of the obesity drug orlistat.

Xenical is produced and distributed by F. Hoffmann–La Roche, Ltd, the Swiss global health care company.