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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Orlistat (Oral)

Orlistat (By Mouth)

Orlistat (OR-li-stat)

Used as part of a diet plan to help you lose weight.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to orlistat. Talk with your doctor before taking this medicine if you have a disorder that keeps your from absorbing or digesting food or if you have gallbladder disease.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use and how often. You may be told to use one capsule, three times each day with a meal that contains fat.
  • Orlistat works by keeping your intestines from absorbing some of the fats from food. The undigested fat goes out of your body in your bowel movements.
  • You should receive another information sheet with your medicine. Read this information carefully before taking this medicine and each time you get your prescription refilled.
  • Never share your medicine with others.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a meal or eat a fat-free meal, you can skip your dose of this medicine.
  • If you forget to take the medicine with a meal, you can take it up to 1 hour after your meal. But if it is more than an hour after your meal, don't take the medicine. Wait until it's time for your next meal to take the medicine.
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the capsules at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • You may be told to use a multivitamin that contain vitamins D, E, and K, and beta-carotene. Extra vitamins may be needed because this medicine keeps you from absorbing certain kinds of vitamins in food. If you use multivitamins, use them at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking your dose of orlistat. You may want to use your multivitamin at bedtime.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking cyclosporine (Sandimmune®), pravastatin (Pravachol®), warfarin (Coumadin®), dietary supplements (including herbal products), or other medicines to help you lose weight.
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Talk with your doctor before taking this medicine if you have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia or if you have had kidney stones.
  • Tell your doctor if you have diabetes. Your doctor may need to change your diabetes medicine if you change your diet or lose weight.
  • The amount of calories from fat in your meals should be 30% or less. Side effects can be worse if you eat a meal that has a high amount of fat. Divide your daily intake of fat evenly over your 3 main meals that you eat each day.
  • This medicine works best if you follow a reduced-calorie diet and exercise regularly. Talk with your health caregiver about a healthy and well balanced eating plan that you should follow. Also talk with your doctor or other health caregiver before starting any exercise program.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Increased number of bowel movements
  • Feeling like you need to have a bowel movement right away
  • Oil or fat in your bowel movements
  • Having more bowel movements than normal
  • Passing gas with your bowel movements
  • Passing oil from your rectum
  • Being unable to control bowel movements
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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