How does Orlistat work?

If you have been struggling to shift those extra pounds, Orlistat may be an effective option to help speed up the process. It is important you understand how the medication works to help you decide whether it may be a useful option for you.

Published: Friday 14 October 2016

When you consume food, enzymes help to break down food into smaller particles so that it can be absorbed into your bloodstream. The enzymes that breakdown fat are called gastric and pancreatic lipases and they work in the stomach and small intestine. They break down fat into fatty acids and glycerol which can then be absorbed into your bloodstream before being distributed and stored in your body, which causes weight gain.

Orlistat works by blocking the action of gastric and pancreatic lipases and so stops the breakdown of fat into smaller particles. This means that fat is too large to be absorbed into the bloodstream and so instead simply passes through the body unchanged and is consequently removed in your stools. Dietary fat is high in calories and if these calories can’t be absorbed this in turn leads to weight loss.

How Orlistat Works

How do you take Orlistat?

One capsule of Orlistat should be taken up to three times a day with, after or up to 1 hour after your meals. There is no medical evidence that doses above this recommendation has any additional benefits, so this dose should not be exceeded. However, if a meal is missed or no fat is consumed, the dose of Orlistat should be missed as the medication will simply have no effect. Read more about how effective Orlistat is here (insert link to article: how effective is Orlistat?).

Can Orlistat give me side-effects?

All medications can potentially cause side effects, but this does not mean you will experience them. As Orlistat works by passing fat through your faeces, the most common side effects include abdominal discomfort, oily spotting, faecal urgency, flatulence, fatty/oily stools and increased defecation. You can reduce the likelihood of experiencing these side effects by reducing your fat intake in your diet.

It is critical that you have realistic achievable goals when taking Orlistat and understand the importance of using it with a balanced nutrient-rich calorie-controlled diet plan and increasing regular exercise.

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