Updated: 01/13/2018

Diet products either work or they don’t. Period. Let’s find out which one Orlistat is. We wanted to know what science had to say, so we decided to dig deeper into ingredients, side effects, clinical research and customer service quality. Furthermore, we examined hundreds of user comments and feedback. Then, we summarized and condensed to give you the info you need.

Orlistat Readers: Click here to find out why we're giving away samples of our product, Burn HD.

What is Orlistat?

Orlistat is a medicine designed to help people lose weight. It is sold under a couple of different names, including Xenical, a prescription drug, and Alli, an over the counter medication.

It works as a lipase inhibitor, which means that it prevents the body from absorbing fats from dietary sources. As a result, the body absorbs fewer calories. [1]

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Orlistat works inside the stomach and small intestines by bonding with certain enzymes to make them inactive.

The inactive enzymes are then incapable of breaking down triglycerides into fatty acids and monoglycerides, which the body is capable of absorbing. The unabsorbed triglycerides then pass out of the body as a waste product. [2]

The Company Behind Orlistat

Orlistat is the active ingredient used in Xenical, sold by Roche, and Alli, sold by GlaxoSmithKline.

Roche is a company with a long history, having been founded way back in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche.

The original name of the company was F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co and the legal name of the company today is F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., but they simply go by Roche.

Hoffman-La Roche was an early pioneer of the manufacturing of medicines to battle diseases. Over the years, they have been involved in the manufacturing of many different medications.

Some of their first successes were with thyroid medications and cough syrups. The company has been involved in researching and developing everything from vitamins to chemotherapy medications.

In 1945, the company diversified and entered into cosmetics by creating the Pantene Corporation. Today, the company focuses on biotechnology and the development of new diagnostic technologies.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a company even older than Roche, having started out as an apothecary shop in 1715.

The shop was called Plough Court pharmacy but later became Allen & Hanburys. Allen & Hanburys was later acquired by Glaxo Laboratories Ltd, and so the Glaxo part of the current company name came into play.

The Smith Kline part of the company began in Philadelphia in 1830 when Smith & Gilbert drug house opened. Gilbert later withdrew from the company.

As the years passed, several more companies were added into the mix, leaving two companies called Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. These two companies merged in 2000 and became today’s GSK. They focus on three aspects of the health industry: pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer healthcare.

Orlistat Customer Testimonials

Orlistat Ingredients

Rather than having a list of ingredients to report on, Orlistat is an ingredient used in weight loss supplements and medications.

For example, Orlistat is the active ingredient in the over the counter weight loss supplement Alli. The inactive ingredients in this supplement are:

  • Gelatin
  • Iron Oxide
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • Povidone
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Starch Glycolate [3]

The inactive ingredients in Xenical, the prescription version of Orlistat, are:

  • Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • Sodium Starch Glycolate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Povidone
  • Talc
  • Gelatin
  • Titanium Dioxide [4]

So, as you can see, the inactive ingredients are largely the same for both the prescription and non-prescription versions. The only difference between the two is the amount of Orlistat each contains.


Orlistat Safety

Orlistat is an FDA approved medication, which means it has been reviewed for effectiveness and safety. Studies have shown it can help with weight loss.

In a double-blind study published in The Lancet, 688 participants were placed into one of two groups. [5]

One group was treated with 120 mg of Orlistat three times per day. The other group received a placebo. Both groups also followed a low-calorie diet.

At the end of one year, the group taking Orlistat lost more weight than the placebo group.

The participants were then followed for an additional year in which they followed a diet for maintaining weight. Those who were taking Orlistat gained 50 percent less weight than those not taking the drug.

Another study looked at the use of Orlistat to help type 2 diabetes patients lose weight and control blood sugar levels. The study took place over a 57-week period and was a double-blind placebo-controlled study involving 391 obese participants.

All participants followed a low-calorie diet and were assigned to either the placebo group or the Orlistat group. Researchers measured participants’ glycemic control, lipid levels, weight changes, and tolerance of the drug.

At the end of the study, participants who took 120 mgs of Orlistat three times per day lost more weight than those taking a placebo.

They also saw a “significant improvement in glycemic control” and “significantly greater improvements than placebo in several lipid parameters.” However, researchers noted that some participants experienced some gastrointestinal side effects. [6]

Another group of researchers studied the effectiveness of Orlistat depending on its dosage.

Specifically, they examined Orlistat at 10, 60, and 120 mg dosages used three times per day. Participants also followed a diet in which about 30 percent of the calories came from fat.

At the conclusion of the study, those taking the greatest amount of Orlistat lost the most weight, leading researchers to determine that weight loss does depend on dosage. [7]

Orlistat – Alli Over the Counter Pills

As we mentioned, Alli is available without a prescription and contains Orlistat as its active ingredient.

The official website says that users who are “committed to a well-balanced diet” can lose between 5 and 10 percent of their body weight. Reportedly, the weight loss is a result of Alli blocking about 25 percent of the fat in a person’s diet.

The makers of Alli recommend that the use of the supplement be combined with not only a well-balanced diet but also exercise and plenty of water.

There are additional tools on the Alli website to help users reach their goals, such as recipes, food trackers, and a weight tracker.

What is Orlistat 60?

You might see Alli referred to as “Orlistat 60.” This is simply a reference to the fact that Alli contains a 60 mg dose of Orlistat, instead of the 120 mg dose available with a prescription.

Alli pills even have Orlistat 60 printed on their light blue capsules to identify them as the non-prescription strength. [8]


Xenical – Orlistat in Prescription Form

Xenical is a higher dose of Orlistat available only with a doctor’s prescription.

According to the official website, it is meant for people with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher, or for those with additional risk factors and a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or higher.

Additional risk factors may include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

What is Orlistat 120 mg?

Again, you may find Xenical referred to as Orlistat 120 mg, which is the prescription dosage of the drug.

Note that this is the dosage found to be effective in the scientific studies we mentioned earlier. However, to get Orlistat in a 120 mg dosage, you’ll need to see your doctor and meet certain criteria to receive a prescription.

Side Effects

Orlistat Side Effects

Many of the side effects associated with Orlistat are digestive symptoms, probably due to the non-absorption of fats.

The most commonly occurring side effect is a change in bowel moments, which often occurs during the first couple of weeks of taking the supplement.

Side effects may go away, but it is possible for it to continue for a person’s entire duration on the medication.

Orlistat side effects may include:

  • Oily Spotting
  • Increased Urination
  • Increased Bowel Movements
  • Gas
  • Irregular Bowel Movements
  • Stomach Pain
  • Diarrhea

Other potential symptoms may include rectal pain, headaches, anxiety, and irregularity of the menstrual cycle. [9]

The FDA has also published information as to the frequency of certain side effects. In the first year of taking prescription strength Orlistat:

  • 26.6 % of users reported oily spotting.
  • 23.9 % reported gas with discharge.
  • 22.1 % experienced urgent bowel movements.
  • 20 % had fatty or oily stools.
  • 10.8 % had an increased number of bowel movements.
  • 7.7 % suffered fecal incontinence.

For 8.8 % of Orlistat users, side effects were serious enough for them to discontinue use. [2]

In addition to Orlistat side effects deemed mild or moderate, more severe side effects may occur. Users who experience any more severe side effects should discontinue use and contact their doctor [10]

Orlistat should not be taken by people who those who are pregnant or allergic to Orlistat. The ingredient should also be avoided if you have gastrointestinal issues.


Claimed Orlistat Benefits

The official website for Xenical states that the drug is used to “increase weight loss in people with obesity” and that it should be used in combination with a low-calorie diet.

The Alli website claims the use of their supplement causes weight loss of up to 5 to 10 percent of body weight. They also say their product can prevent the absorption of 25 percent of dietary fat.

Does it Work

Does Orlistat Work?

Based on the scientific research, Orlistat does help users achieve a modest weight loss.

Studies indicate that users lose more body weight when using Orlistat and following a low-calorie diet in comparison to people who only reduce calorie intake.

In those trying to maintain weight, taking Orlistat helped them to gain back less weight than people on a maintenance diet alone. However, we were unable to locate any research indicating whether weight lost using Orlistat was able to stay off in the long run.

The amount of weight lost with Orlistat is also contingent upon the dosage. Those who take a higher dosage of the drug lose more weight. This suggests that the non-prescription dosage found in Alli may not be as effective as prescription strength Xenical.


What Are the Orlistat Alternatives?

Orlistat is not the only prescription drug available for weight loss. Other medications include:

  • Belviq
  • Contrave
  • Saxenda
  • Phentermine
    Qsymia [11]

There are also many weight loss supplements on the market they claim to do all sorts of amazing things.

Some of them say they will suppress appetite so that you eat less and lose weight. Others say they burn fat, even when you’re sleeping.

While some of them may have a slight effect on your weight, many are ineffective. It’s important to do your research and talk to your doctor before trying anything new to help with weight loss. Look for products that are backed by real clinical research.


Directions for Taking Orlistat

Xenical should be taken according to the prescription written by the doctor. Often, though, you take one capsule with a meal, or up to one hour afterward.

It should be used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet in which no more than 30 percent of the calories come from fat.

The Alli website states that users should take one capsule with each meal that contains fat, up to three capsules per day.

Alli users should follow an exercise program and a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Also, the Alli website recommends taking a multivitamin at bedtime.

Orlistat and Weight Loss

Orlistat is one of the most popular weight loss drugs on the market. It is FDA approved for weight loss and has been the subject of numerous clinical trials.

However, it is not a miracle pill for weight loss.

Instead, it must be used in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise, both of which can help a person lose weight on their own. Orlistat slightly boosts the body’s ability to lose weight by blocking the absorption of fat in the foods a person eats.

While Orlistat may help with weight loss, using the drug is not without its pitfalls.

The side effects are, at their least severe, unpleasant. The fats that the body is not able to absorb due to the drug must be expelled as waste, which can make the need to use a bathroom urgent. Some users have even reported having “accidents.”

Some of the side effects are also quite severe, so it is important to consult a doctor to determine if Orlistat is safe for you to use based on your health.

What Users Are Saying

“It is a great product for weight loss but you have to be consistent with it.”

“Works great but be careful with the loose stool if you eat very fatty food.”

“The effect is overstated. I wouldn’t recommend”

Bottom Line

The Bottom Line – Does Orlistat Work?

Are you heading out to buy Orlistat? Well, we like that we found some positive customer comments. It’s also FDA-approved. While it’s used to treat obesity, research shows it could lead to adverse reactions. Also, we’re hesitant about making suggestions about this one due to customer reports relating to negative side effects and the lack of results.

We want you to feel safe when you lose weight, so we suggest you go with a supplement containing ingredients shown to work that’s not connected to harmful side effects.

Among the best products we’ve seen this year is one called Dietspotlight Burn. The supplement contains four clinically-tested ingredients promoting weight-loss by helping accelerate metabolism and ignite fat loss. There’s no chatter about harmful side effects, but the results reported by dieters are amazing.

Also, the company behind Dietspotlight Burn is offering customers a Special Trial Offer. This is an excellent sign of confidence in their supplement.

Learn More About Burn HD »
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How does Orlistat help with weight loss?

Orlistat reduces the number of fat calories your body takes in by acting in your intestine to block the activity of fat-digesting enzymes, called lipases. As a result, undigested fats pass through your system, rather than being absorbed.

How often do you take Orlistat?

Orlistat is typically taken 3 times a day. Take it an hour or less after meals containing up to to 30% fat. Don’t take Orlistat after meals that don’t contain any fat or when you skip a meal.

How do I know if Orlistat is right for me?

Choosing the right product is the #1 question asked by DietSpotlight readers. We recommend trying any product before buying it and know that finding a product with a sample offer is near impossible - so we created our own product, Burn HD, with scientifically backed ingredients.

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What is Orlistat 60 used for?

Orlistat 60 mg is used as a weight loss aid.

What are the side effects of Orlistat?

Side effects include severe lower back pain; blood in urine; reduction or cessation of urination; confusion, drowsiness, changes in mood, increase in thirst; swelling, weight gain, and shortness of breath.

Is orlistat effective?

Orlistat increases the weight loss that you would have from diet alone; 6kg of weight loss with diet alone could be 9kg of weight loss with Orlistat.

What is the drug Orlistat?

The over-the-counter medication Alli (orlistat) is used to help with weight loss. People using Alli can lose more weight than people dieting alone, according to studies.


Previous Orlistat Review (Updated August 12, 2013):

What You Should Know

Orlistat is a weight loss drug which is designed to deal with weight loss in overweight adults. It was approved by the Food and Drugs Administration in 1999 as a prescription drug. Orlistat is the generic name, and the prescription form of the drug is known under the brand name of Alli. In 2007, the Food and Drugs Administration approved a lower dosage over the counter form of Orlistat known as Xenical. Xenical is produced and sold by GlaxoSmithKline.

List of Ingredients

Alli (60mg), Xenical (120mg)

Product Features

Those who market and sell the various forms of Orlistat tell us that it can be taken up to three times a day with each main meal and that it is designed to be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program. Of course, synthetic drugs such as Orlistat should be a last resort solution to weight loss. We are told that Orlistat works by binding to an enzyme known as gastrointestinal lipase which inhibits the action of this enzyme. This action is said to play a role in breaking down consumed fats. Those who market and sell the prescription form of Orlistat as well as the over the counter form claim that it breaks down thirty percent of fat which is ingested and prevents it from being absorbed. We are told that Orlistat is not suitable for anyone who has had an organ transplant, suffers from a thyroid problem or suffers from diabetes. Side effects of this drug include changes in bowel movements, as well as menstrual irregularities. Some experts claim that in certain individuals it can lead to behavioural changes. It also interferes with the absorption of certain vitamins in the body.


  • Orlistat is available both in prescription form and as an over the counter drug.
  • Some of the contraindications for this drug are listed on line.
  • The over the counter form of Orlistat can be ordered directly online.


  • Orlistat is not suitable for anyone who has a thyroid problem or suffers from diabetes.
  • Side effects can include behavioural changes, changes in bowel movements and menstrual irregularities.
  • Orlistat is not the only enzyme inhibiting weight loss drug on the market.
  • We are provided with no evidence which shows that Orlistat is more effective than other enzyme inhibiting weight loss drugs.


At the end of the day, due to the fact that Orlistat interferes with the chemistry of the body by blocking Enzymes, we feel that it is a weight loss solution of last resort when other avenues have been exhausted. Even though a low dosage form of Orlistat is available as an over the counter drug, we are of the opinion that anyone who wishes to take Orlistat in any form should first seek the advice of their Physician.
Summer Banks Dietspotlight Author
About the Author:

Summer Banks, Director of Content at Dietspotlight, has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with doctors specializing in weight loss and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University. full bio.

58 Orlistat Reviews

  • Abdul malik

    My wight 135 I want to lose wight

  • Orlistat
    Ahmadzia (Verified User)

    We should use that before food or after food

    • Stephen (Editor)

      It can be taken up to three times a day with/before each main meal.

    • Aqsha


  • Can I take it during my period?
    Your Name (Verified User)

    Can it be taken during menstrocycle.

    • Devon (Editor)

      Hi, we couldn;t find a reason why it shouldn’t. Be safe and ask your doctor.

  • Zarak

    How much can I lose in month

    • Anna (Editor)

      Hello. All users are different and can experience different weight-loss results.

  • ayesha

    I want to know can it b use for unmarried girl and having no side effect aftr marriage in pregnecy

    • Veronica

      Hello Ayesha! All users are different and can experience different weight-loss results, please make sure to consult with your physician before taking this product.

  • how i can use it

    Sir i am unmarride and my age is 25 years old. can i use it? my doc reffered it. please tell me how i can use it

    • Stephen (Editor)

      It can be taken up to three times a day with each main meal, Ayesha.

  • Ali

    Hi i am 18 Years old and have gained weight of almost 95kgs with the height 5.9…. won’t it be harmful if i use the orslim tablets?

    • Anna (Editor)

      Hi! Please make sure to consult with your physician before starting a new weight-loss program or product.

  • Pervez

    I am taking orlistat from only one capsule of 60 mg daily. No any worse side effect i have reduced my belly and weight from 210 lbs to 195 lbs.

    • Atiqa

      After how many days u started losing weight

  • Nayab

    30 years old unmarried and 100kg weight with 5.3 height…I didnt do check up of thyroid yet…should I do that or start this Orslim cap for weight lose? Pls give a sincere suggestion.. Thanx

    • Anna (Editor)

      Hi! Please make sure to consult with your physician before starting a new weight-loss program or product.

  • Naza

    I m nursing mother
    I wanted to ask can i use these tablets as i breast feeb
    I gained 15 kg after my delivery
    I cannot control my diet
    Can i take while nursing
    As doctors says have excercise instead of drugs plz reply

    • Veronica

      Hi Naza. For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Orlistat official website to learn more if their product is safe to use while nursing.

    • Aqsha

      Unless you dont control ur diet orlistat might not work because it absorbs the fat in the food u comsume,so if you eat a high calorie diet even though it absorbs still the remaining wont be.. Im not sure if it is good for breast feeding women better consult a doctor 🙂

  • fahad

    hy..my wife use orslim orlistst before marriage..she lose 20 kg wait…now after marriage…we have a baby…n she gained very much wait again..she wants to use these capsules again…

    • Anna (Editor)

      Hello. All users are different and can experience different results, but please have her consult with her physician before taking this product.

  • Muhammad Yousaf

    Hi this Yousaf and I am 36 years old. My weight is 122kg and my Family doctor advised me for taking Orslim 120 two tablets in each day.
    Now my question is shoud I use these medicine with exercises and Running and should I do my diet control or without these thing shoul I use this medicine.
    I mean to say it effect without any exercise and diet or I will do exercise and diet with this medicine.
    Also tell me what time is required for my reduction of body ?

    Please reply me in your good points.



    • Adrian (Editor)

      Hi Yousaf! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to Orlistat’s official website for more information.

  • jyothsna

    I am a thyoride patient and my doctor prescription me this medicine after using this medicine I have pain in stomach what should I have to now sides of stomach

    • Candace (Editor)

      Please ask you doctor regarding your other medicines.

  • i feel its effective
    JUNAID (Verified User)

    I just start using this Medicine , and i feel its effective , but i want to be a sure about disadvantages and effects . and also i want to know the difference of FAKE and REAL ORSILIM , because i am afraid to get fake one , waiting your feedback

    • Stephen (Editor)

      Hey, Junaid. If you are confident in the effects then you likely have the real one. What is the name of the company on the bottle?

  • I have problem of irregularities
    Rabia (Verified User)

    hi I am using now ORSLIM .my age is 18 and my weight is 65 .I have problem of irregularities of periods .my doctor concult these tablets .doctor said I should lose my weight then I can solve this ghynocological problem .shoul I use this please tell me.

    • Arnold (Editor)

      Hi Rabia, even though Orlistat looks promising we did come across potential side effects that cause it to be unsuitable for those thyroid problems, diabetes or issues with menstruation. Please consult your doctor once more.

  • can I use it without cnsltng dr

    Hello..I want to use orslim tblts..I’m 30 years old n weight is 94 kgs…I’m unmarried..I do nt hav any health issu..can I use it without cnsltng dr???

    • Arnold (Editor)

      Sani you should always consult a doctor. This product is the generic form of a prescription drug called Alli.

  • Can I use this again?
    muskan (Verified User)

    Sir l have used this medicine 6 months ago . Can I use this medicne again .l am 17 years old with weight 71 kg .My height 5’7

    • Devon (Editor)

      Well, Muskan, ordinarily these supplements are for people who are 18 years of age or older. Just make sure your doctor signs off on it for you.

  • Any side effects?

    Plz anyone in pak who using ths orlistate contain ORSLIM TABLETS tel me wht r the side effects of it. And if we use it. How many days or month it should take? How much weight we can loose.? Plz must let me know.

  • Is this safe for my condition?

    my age is 21 ,height 5ft and 9 inch i got pcos weight is 99 can i use these tablets to lose weight ??is it safe for me as i hav pcos

    • Karen (Editor)

      Hi Rida. It’s important you ask your doctor if this or any product is is agreeable to your body’s chemistry.

  • Should I continue?
    afzal khan (Verified User)

    my pcnl operation is done on 20.05.2015 my height is 6 ft. my weight is 98 I start orlistat slim trim active tablets 120 mg.two time a day after meal i continue this or stop some time

    • Rehana

      is there any side effect on stomach after longtime used atleast how many month we can use

  • Best way to take this

    Sir/madam my weight is 100 kg.i have no any medical problem can I start orslim tablets 120 mg.two time a day after meal please give me quick reply.if you want to suggest any thing so please do it

  • 108kg male

    i want more details iam 108kg male

  • Can i take orslim without multivitamin?

    Can i take orslim without multivitamin?? Coz my dr prescribed me only orslim n she says orslim can ne taken alone

  • Need information about dosage

    what is the recommended daily dosage for orlistat

  • Can you take it after drinking coffee?

    is it good to take orlistat even when u took it after drinking coffee?

  • Why can't I use the product?

    y is it not fit for diabetics?

  • Manufacturing problem

    orlistat been taken off the shelves do you knw when it will be going to be put back as was told there was a manufacturing problem.

  • Is this safe for nursing women?

    is orlistat is safe for nursing women

    • Rae

      Since this is a drug for reducing fat intake it would not be good for nursing women to take it since you would need enough nutrients in your milk for the child, and fat is important in development. If you do not have enough nutrients in your milk for the child, the child could have deficiences.

  •  Product only work for fatty meals
    deserter (Verified User)

    Take this pill only when you will be having a fatty meal (it happens). A friend of mine took about one pill a day for a month, some days she didn’t take any, because they’re so expensive here. So if you restrict yourself to taking the pill when you eat something heavy and greasy, you can mask out any fat from your diet. You must take a multivitamin with it as you lose Vitamins A, D, E and K (which are found in fat). I personally find this pill draining, I get tired for some reason. Also some people feel the need to go to the bathroom right after, but for me it takes about 3 hours. Hope my comment is useful!

  • effective than xenical orlistat

    why is sigma orlistat more effective than xenical orlistat?

  • Kay

    My friend takes Orlistat 60 a blue capsule, she said that it works great to lose weight, she does not appear to have lost any, is the Orlistat 60 over the counter or perscription, I have slightly high blood pressure is it safe if it is over the counter?

  •  Supervision
    molly (Verified User)

    I used this product with supervision from my doctor in mexico and as long as i followed the diet he gave me and took the pill twice a day i lost about 60 lbs in 3 1/2 months i havent gained the wieght back like u usually do with other pills I really liked it….

    • Kay

      Is Orlistat 60 an over the counter or perscription?

    • Genie

      what type of foods were on your meal plan that contained fat? please give me an idea as the desc mentioned that it shouldnt be taken with meals that dont contain fat. thanks a bunch! hopefully you see this

    • Anonymous

      Even i am a thyroid patient. I do not have much of junk food and love eating vegetables, but post thyroid i gained some weight, also since i had to consume other medicines i gained more weight. It has become difficult to lose weight despite exercising. I have been prescribed orlistat 60mg from my doctor who never told me of any side effects since i am a thyroid patient. Could any one please help me know what could be the side effects for a thyroid patient?

    • sam

      Dear molly can u tell me what diet u were following along with orslim

  • why is orlistat contraindicated for thyroid pts?

    why is orlistat contraindicated for thyroid pts?