What is Xenical and what is it used for?
Xenical is a weight loss medication used to assist weight loss in obese patients with a BMI above 30, or for those with associated risk factors (such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol) and a BMI above 28. Xenical works to stop the absorption of fat from your food. By reducing the fat that is absorbed from your diet Xenical can help you lose weight more easily.
Body Mass Index (BMI) and Xenical
For Xenical to be clinically appropriate for you, in most cases your body mass index (BMI) must be over 30. If you suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol you are eligible to take Xenical with a BMI of over 28. You can quickly calculate your BMI by entering your height and weight into our BMI calculator.
What is the difference between Xenical and Orlistat?
Xenical contains the active ingredient Orlistat. Orlistat is also the name of the less expensive brand of Xenical. Both medications are medically equivalent. They both contain the same active ingredient and the same amount of it. However, Orlistat is available at a lower price. All generic medications available in the UK have to demonstrate equivalency and that they have the same effect in the body as the original brand before they can be sold. Generic medicines are equally effective as the original. Read more here.
How should I take Xenical?
The recommended dose of Xenical is one 120mg capsule taken three times a day, before, during or up to 1 hour after each main meal. You should trial Xenical for a 3 month period. If after taking it for 3 months you have not lost any weight, Xenical should be discontinued.
What are the side effects of Xenical?
All medications can cause side effects. You may not experience any of them. The majority of the common side effects experienced with Xenical are related to the way it works in your digestive system. These side effects are usually mild, occur at the beginning of treatment, and particularly after high fat meals. Normally these symptoms will subside as you continue treatment and follow your recommended diet.
Taking Xenical makes it more difficult for your body to absorb certain vitamins so it is important to take multivitamin supplements of vitamins A, D, E, and K once a day at least 2 hours before or after taking Xenical, such as at bedtime. A multivitamin that incorporates all of these vitamins is Centrum Advance.
The most common side effects of Xenical, which may affect more than 1 in 10 people include headache, abdominal pain or discomfort, urgent or increased need to open the bowels, wind, oily discharge or oily/fatty stools.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.
Important: We advise you to always read the patient information leaflet inside the medication box, as the generic medication may not always entirely match the patient information leaflet listed. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Written and reviewed by our qualified team
Find out more about how we ensure the accuracy of our content with our content guidelines.
Content last updated:
04 Aug 2023