Xenical capsules contain the active ingredient orlistat, which is a type of medicine called a lipase inhibitor. It is used to aid weight loss in people who are overweight or obese.
Orlistat is not absorbed into the bloodstream, but works locally in the stomach and small intestine, where it prevents the action of two compounds found in the digestive juices. These compounds (known as enzymes) are called gastric and pancreatic lipases. They normally break down fats that we consume in our diet.
The fats we consume in our diets are made of molecules that are too large to be absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. They need to be broken down into smaller molecules during the process of digestion, in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Gastric and pancreatic lipases are the compounds in the gut that carry out this function.
Orlistat works by preventing gastric and pancreatic lipases from working. One Xenical capsule is taken three times a day at mealtimes to prevent fat that is eaten in the meals from being broken down and absorbed by the body. This means the body cannot use the fat as a source of energy, or convert it into fat tissue. Instead, the fat is excreted in the faeces. This helps weight loss.
Xenical should be used in conjunction with increased physical activity and a reduced calorie, lower fat diet. Approximately 30 per cent of your daily calories should come from fat, and your daily intake of fat, carbohydrate and protein should be spread evenly over your three main meals. For example, for a diet of 1400 calories per day, each meal should contain approximately 15 grams of fat. The actual calorie intake and fat consumption that you should follow will depend on your initial weight and level of physical activity - there is guidance provided in the package leaflet, and your doctor or pharmacist can also advise.
Xenical is prescribed to aid weight loss in obese people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30kg/m² or more. It can also be prescribed to overweight people who have a BMI of 28kg/m² or more, if they also have additional risk factors for obesity-related diseases.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
You are less likely to experience digestive side effects if you follow the instructions on what to eat while taking this medicine and do not take it with meals that are high in fat.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
The manufacturer of this medicine recommends that orlistat should not be used in combination with the following medicines:
If it is unavoidable to use orlistat in combination with ciclosporin, ciclosporin blood levels should be monitored more frequently.
People taking anti-blood-clotting medicines (anticoagulants such as warfarin) in combination with orlistat should have their blood clotting time (INR) monitored.
Orlistat may decrease the blood level of amiodarone. Your doctor may want to monitor your heart more closely if you are taking amiodarone in combination with this medicine.
If you are taking medicines for diabetes, you may need an adjustment in your dose if you lose weight while taking this medicine. This is because weight loss may be accompanied by an improvement in your blood sugar levels. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
If you are taking medicines for high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, you may need an adjustment in your dose if you lose weight while taking this medicine. This is because your weight loss may be accompanied by an improvement in your blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
This medicine may possibly reduce the absorption of levothyroxine (taken for an underactive thyroid gland) from the gut. If you have an underactive thyroid gland you should let your doctor know if you think your thyroxine has become less effective after starting treatment with this medicine.
This medicine may possibly reduce the absorption of antiepileptic medicines such as valproate or lamotrigine from the gut. If you are taking antiepileptic medicines you should let your doctor know if your seizures have got worse or become more frequent after starting treatment with this medicine.
If you take a multivitamin supplement with this medicine, it should be taken at least two hours after your orlistat dose, or at bedtime, as otherwise the orlistat will prevent the vitamins being absorbed.
This medicine can cause diarrhoea, which if severe, can reduce the absorption of oral contraceptive pills from the gut and thus make them less effective at preventing pregnancy. Women taking the pill for contraception should therefore use an additional method of contraception, eg condoms, to prevent pregnancy, if they experience severe diarrhoea while taking this medicine.