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Orlistat, also known as tetrahydrolipstatin, is a diet pill ingredient that was first available exclusively on the prescription market – under the brand name, Xenical.  It later became available in generic form.  This provided obesity patients with more opportunities for choice regarding which prescription drugs they would like to use.  Moreover, it allowed them an option that was typically less expensive.

Is Orlistat Always a Prescription Drug?

There are both prescription and non-prescription versions of Orlistat. This diet drug was originally available only as an obesity treatment at a prescription level.  That said, more recently it became available at a notably lower dose in a pill that can be purchased over the counter, under the name Alli.

That pill is marketed toward overweight dieters who are looking to gain similar fat blocking effects but at a dose that is more appropriate to their needs. Higher doses at the prescription level place overweight dieters at risk of dangerous side effects. That said, at lower doses, the FDA determined that the drug was safe enough for dieters to use even if they did not have obesity.

How Does Orlistat Work?

It is intended only for adults who are over the age of 18. The prescription strength version of this ingredient may be recommended following weight loss surgery, to assist patients in being able to stop the lost pounds from returning.

Orlistat is a drug that falls into a drug class that is known as lipase inhibitors. What this means is that it functions in the intestine to stop them from absorbing about a quarter of the fat consumed in food. The fats that are not absorbed by the body are simply pushed through with the rest of the waste and are expelled through bowel movements.

How Are Dieters Supposed to Use this Drug?

This ingredient has been shown in medical studies to be able to assist obese patients in losing more weight than they would if they were only dieting. That said, its use is meant to be combined with healthy eating habits and a fitness appropriate exercise program.

The reason is that this drug was not developed to cause weight loss on its own. Swallowing this pill won’t make any real difference on the bathroom scale unless the right lifestyle changes are made.  Therefore, when prescribed, a doctor will also generally recommend a new eating strategy combined with lifestyle changes such as physical activity. Other steps may also be recommended such as a greater focus on sleep and stress reduction methods.

What is the Typical Orlistat Diet?

It is typically advised that users of products containing this ingredient follow a reduced fat diet, as the consumption of excessive amounts of fat can lead to certain unpleasant side effects. This drug is, after all, a fat blocker.  While it would seem as though the drug manages the fat reduction on its own, continuing to eat a high fat diet while taking prescription fat blockers can lead to very uncomfortable results.

After all, the excess fat consumed doesn’t just disappear.  As mentioned earlier, it is sent out with the body waste. It is for that reason that eating excessive amounts of fat can lead to side effects, as passing a lot of fat through bowel movements can bring about symptoms of diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, and leaky or oily stool.

When taking a pill based on Orlistat, most doctors will recommend that a dieter follow an eating plan in which no more than 30 percent of calories come from fat. At the same time, it is important that a little bit of fat be present in every meal. If a fat-free meal is to be consumed, a doctor may recommend skipping the dose of the medication.

Nutritional Concerns While Using this Fat Blocker

It is also likely that a doctor will recommend taking a daily multivitamin or specific vitamins throughout the time that this drug is being taken. The reason is that certain vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, as well as beta carotene are all absorbed into the body through fat. When that fat is blocked, the absorption of those nutrients is blocked as well.

Equally, Orlistat and the supplements should not all be taken at the same time. Allow some time to pass between your dose of the fat blocker medication and any supplements you’re taking. This will help to provide your body with the opportunity to absorb the nutrients without inadvertently blocking those supplemented fat-soluble nutrients with the medication’s effects.

It is highly recommended that a doctor be consulted before beginning the use of any diet pill that contains Orlistat as an ingredient. Never use a prescription drug when it has not been prescribed to you.

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