Xenical, Alli and Orlistat - The Differences

Here are some very similar weight loss pills. How are they different?

Published: Friday 02 September 2016



Orlistat is not a fat-binder, appetite suppressant, carb blocker, metabolism booster, fat breakdown stimulator, or fat burner. It works by reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs from your meal.

Does this mean you can eat burgers with a large side of curly fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner with no weight gain? Not quite. Orlistat only proves effective when used in conjunction with a healthy lower calorie, low fat diet and regular exercise.

Xenical and Orlistat are medically equivalent, that is to say that they both contain 120mg of orlistat as their prime ingredient and works by preventing a third of your fat being digested. However, Xenical is the branded version of the medication, and is therefore more expensive than its generic form, Orlistat.

Orlistat and Alli differ in that they have the same active ingredient, orlistat, but at different doses. Orlistat comes in tablets of 120mg, which makes the tablets more effective but increases the risk of side effects and their severity. Alli, on the other hand, comes in tablets of just 60mg of the ingredient orlistat so the side effects, if felt are to a lesser extent than compared with orlistat or xenical.

Alli also prevents around a quarter of your fat intake from being digested and is thought to help you lose one extra pound for every two pounds you lose naturally. It does not require a prescription to buy because it contains half the dosage than orlistat, but you should consult with a doctor or pharmacist to check whether you meet the requirements to take Alli.

  Xenical Orlistat Alli
  Xenical Orlistat Alli
Active Ingredient Orlistat Orlistat Orlistat
Strength 120mg 120mg 60mg
Eligibility BMI 30+ BMI 30+ BMI 28+
Branded Branded Orlistat at 120mg Generic Orlistat at 120mg Branded Orlistat at 60mg
Diet and Exercise Yes Yes Yes

So, which one is the better option for you, Xenical, Alli or Orlistat? The choice is a simple one, since Alli is for adult patients with a BMI of 28 and higher, while Xenical and Orlistat are for patients with a BMI of 30 and above.

In comparison with other weight loss aids, the decision will depend on your personal circumstances, health history, weight, and lifestyle. If in doubt, contact your GP or local pharmacist to discuss the different options.

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