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Orlistat: A comprehensive guide to this weight loss solution

Here's how it can support your goals.

Orlistat Weight Loss: Your Comprehensive Guide | Juniper

Navigating the path to weight loss can often feel like an uphill battle, leaving you searching for that extra boost to shed those stubborn pounds. Despite your best efforts, finding the right solution can be challenging.

You've probably been hearing a lot about different weight loss medications. These handy solutions have grown in popularity recently thanks to how these drugs effectively target body weight and help reduce the number on the scale.

But how do you know which medication might be the right one to help you lose weight?

One medication you may have been hearing a lot about lately is Orlistat. Weight loss on this medication can be substantial, but like any new medication, there are some things to know before you dive in.

That's why we've compiled a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about Orlistat, from how it works to the most common side effects and even how to find the best weight loss approach for you.

What is Orlistat?

Orlistat is a clinically-proven weight loss medication that can significantly contribute to your efforts to lose weight and even maintain a healthy weight in the long term [1].

Whether you're starting your weight loss journey or striving to sustain your progress, Orlistat can help you lose weight and keep your body weight down.

Orlistat is available as both an over-the-counter (OTC) medication and with a prescription from a GP and comes in the form of a pill. As a weight loss treatment, it's best to use it alongside a low-fat diet and regular exercise routine.

How does Orlistat work?

Orlistat operates within the class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, employing a unique mechanism to support your weight loss goals.

Orlistat works by obstructing certain enzymes called lipases. Orlistat reduces the absorption of the dietary fat consumed by the body [2].

This effectively reduces your body's ability to digest fat, preventing it from entering your system. Instead, this unabsorbed fat passes through your intestines and is eliminated from the body through your stool [3].

Even though Orlistat reduces the body's fat intake, it's still important to use it alongside a reduced calorie diet and lower your dietary fat intake (as this could lead to some nasty side effects).

Because Orlistat blocks the absorption of some fat-soluble vitamins and beta-carotene it's important to remember to take a multivitamin supplement containing vitamins A, D, E, K, and beta-carotene alongside any form of Orlistat [4]. This ensures that your body receives the vital nutrients needed to maintain optimal health while focusing on your weight loss journey.

How effective is Orlistat for weight loss?

The effectiveness of Orlistat can vary depending on several factors. The results you're likely to see will depend on any lifestyle and behavioural changes you've made alongside the medication (such as adopting a low-calorie diet and taking part in regular exercise).

But studies give us a rough idea of how effective this medication is for helping you lose weight. The stats tell us that Orlistat can lead to meaningful and sustained weight loss in overweight or obese adults when given at a dose of Orlistat (120mg) 3 times daily (alongside a meal) for up to 2 years.

In a 16-week study, taking Orlistat (60 mg) resulted in a significant loss of initial body weight compared with those taking a placebo [5].

So while there's no guarantee on exactly how big a change on the scales can be expected, the science backs Orlistat as a relatively effective treatment for weight loss.

Remember: achieving successful and sustainable weight loss involves a holistic approach that combines the benefits of Orlistat with healthy lifestyle modifications.

What is the average weight loss on Orlistat?

While there's no magic number of just how much weight will be lost after starting Orlistat, studies have provided valuable insights into the average weight loss achieved with Orlistat.

Compared to individuals taking a placebo drug, those using Orlistat typically experience an additional weight loss of around 2.9 kg [6], or about 6.4 pounds.

Many people have successfully achieved significant weight loss by incorporating Orlistat into their routines.

In fact, it is not uncommon for people to lose between 10% and 20% of their body fat within the first 6 months of using Orlistat [7].

It's important to remember that weight loss is a highly individualised process, influenced by various factors such as starting weight, lifestyle changes, adherence to a healthy diet, and engagement in regular physical activity.

How long does Orlistat take to work?

When taken 3 times a day alongside food, some people can see changes in just the first 3-5 days [8]. Because of how the drug works, by preventing the body from absorbing fat consumed, it's estimated that the drug starts to take effect as soon as 24 hours after the first dose [9].

By taking Orlistat 3 times a day in conjunction with meals, you are actively supporting your weight loss journey from the very beginning.

The medication prevents your body from absorbing the fat you consume, helping to reduce overall calorie intake and helping you lose weight.

Who can use Orlistat?

Orlistat is available with a prescription from a doctor or pharmacist, or it can be bought at a lower dose from a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist. It's important to note that if you are looking for a higher dose, your doctor may ask a few questions before advising you on a prescription.

Before prescribing Orlistat, typically, your GP will take note of your body mass index (BMI) and ask you questions about your previous weight loss efforts.

In terms of your body mass index (BMI), the general requirements for a prescription for 120mg of Orlistat are for either a BMI of 30 or more, or a BMI of 28 or more and other risk factors like obesity-related conditions, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes [10].

Unlike some other weight loss medicine, Orlistat (120mg) is safe for those who experience high blood pressure and are also looking to target weight loss.

Whether you are looking for a prescription or an OTC version of Orlistat, it's best to check in with a trusted healthcare professional first so that you can make the right choice for you.

Is it legal to purchase Orlistat online in the UK?

Absolutely. It is completely legal to purchase Orlistat online in the UK. This weight loss medication has been approved for sale and use in the UK as a trusted treatment option and is already helping people across the UK keep their body weight down.

Orlistat is available in 2 different forms: lower doses (60mg) can be purchased over the counter in pharmacies, while the higher dose of Orlistat (120mg) is exclusively available through a prescription.

It is important to note that Orlistat should only be purchased from a reputable and registered online pharmacy to ensure the medication is safe and genuine.

Side effects of Orlistat

Like any medication, taking Orlistat may cause certain mild-to-moderate side effects. However, most of these effects tend to go away on their own as the body adjusts to the medication.

Some mild side effects commonly associated with Orlistat include gastrointestinal discomfort, such as oily stools, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and faecal spotting [11]. Plus, you may experience bowel urgency, increased frequency of bowel movements, oily rectal leakage, and flatulence.

These changes in bowel function occur due to the medication's mechanism of action, which hinders the absorption of dietary fat.

That means that any undigested fat may lead to fatty or oily stool, oily spotting, intestinal gas with discharge, a sense of immediate need for a bowel movement, increased bowel movements, or temporary difficulties in bowel control.

Because there are rare cases of more severe side effects, it's best practice to promptly report any unusual symptoms to your healthcare provider to ensure you get any concerns checked out as soon as possible.

Alongside the potential negative side effects, there are also positive effects of Orlistat. For example, some individuals may experience improved blood pressure levels while using Orlistat as part of their weight loss journey [12].

If you have any concerns or questions about the side effects of Orlistat, it's best to consult with your healthcare provider.

How to approach weight loss

To approach weight loss in a healthy way, it's important to make small, achievable changes to your eating and physical activity habits that you can maintain as part of your lifestyle.

But the reality is that losing weight isn't as easy as following a low-fat diet and increasing your daily movement. It's not uncommon to need an extra helping hand to shed those extra pounds. That's where weight management medication comes in.

For effective and long-lasting weight loss, it's best to take a holistic approach. Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme will provide access to proven weight loss medication, a team of qualified health coaches ready to offer tailored advice, and a private community of like-minded women to support and celebrate your successes.

Whether you've lost weight in the past or are starting your weight loss journey for the first time, finding the right support system is key to losing weight and keeping it off for the long term.