Reductil is a discontinued weight loss medication that has been banned by the EU and no longer available in the UK....

Updated: Wednesday 01 May 2024


What is Reductil and what is it used for?

Reductil is a discontinued weight loss medication that has been banned by the EU and no longer available in the UK. Its active ingredient, sibutramine hydrochloride and belongs to a group of medications called serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors. It is an appetite suppressant and until 2010, was prescribed as an anti-obesity treatment along with a healthy diet and regular exercise for clinically obese patients (BMI higher than 30). In addition to treating obese patients, the medication was also prescribed for overweight patients whose weight caused them medication complications.

How does it work?

Reductil is a satiety enhancer or an appetite suppressant, so the medication works to control the amount eaten by elevating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and increasing the feeling of fullness. Reductil can also increase the rate of an individual’s resting metabolism. When you lose weight, your metabolic rate decreases as the amount of food you consume decreases, so the rate your body burns food is slowed down which can have negative effects during weight loss, however Reductil prevents this from happening.

Reductil helps you feel full quicker with less food helping you achieve your weight loss goals when combined with a low-fat calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise.

Why was it banned?

In 2002, a study was conducted into the safety and efficiency of Reductil in obese patients. The trial was carried out over six years following the progress of 10,000 patients comparing Reductil with a placebo. The EU banned the weight loss aid in 2010 due to potentially dangerous side effects found in light of the study as Reductil was linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Where can I buy it?

You cannot buy this medication from a reputable source without a prescription, and now that it has been taken off the market, this is no longer possible.

Beware of counterfeit medication sold as Reductil without a prescription as these can have a detrimental effect on your health.

Are there any alternatives? 

Xenical is a good alternative which doctors are now prescribing instead of Reductil as a high-strength weight loss aid. Orlistat is another option, which is the generic version of Xenical, available at the same strength of the same active ingredient but a lower price.

New weight loss pill Alli is also used as a weight loss aid. It contains 60mg of orlistat and is also available over the counter.

What is the difference between Reductil and Xenical?

  Xenical Reductil
Active Ingredient Orlistat Sibutramine hydrochloride
Weight Loss Method Lipase inhibitor Satiety enhancer
Works on Intestine- blocks fat-digesting enzymes so 30% of fat is not absorbed and is excreted Nerve cells in brain - increases serotonin to heighten feeling of fullness
Eligibility BMI 30+, or BMI 28+ with type II diabetes or heart disease BMI 30+, or BMI 27+ with other weight-related health complications
Diet and Exercise Yes Yes
Side Effects Loose stools, flatulence, low levels of vitamins A, D, E, K Insomnia, constipation, dry mouth, hypertension
License Yes No

For the difference between Xenical, Orlistat and Alli, you can view our related blog post here.

Iris Barbier

Written by: Iris Barbier

Pharmacy Assistant

Born in France, Iris moved to the UK to study Biological Sciences at London Metropolitan University. Upon graduating, Iris moved up north, where she completed an MA in Science Journalism at the University of Lincoln.

As a qualified science journalist, Iris uses her expertise to write content for Pharmica’s online Health Centre. She ensures our patients get specialist knowledge on medical conditions and how to treat them.

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Video Guide: Orlistat Weight Loss Treatment
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