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Orlistat is an FDA-approved weight loss medication that is designed to help people who are overweight or obese lose weight. It is available in both prescription and over-the-counter forms and is also sold under the brand name Xenical.

Mechanism of action

Orlistat works by blocking the absorption of fat in the gut, which can reduce the number of calories that the body absorbs. It accomplishes this by inhibiting the action of lipase, an enzyme responsible for breaking down fat. Orlistat can reduce the absorption of dietary fat by up to 30%.


Clinical studies have shown that Orlistat is effective for weight loss, with people who take the medication losing an average of 5-10% of their body weight over a six-month period. In addition, studies have also shown that Orlistat can help to improve other health factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar control.

Limited use

It is important to note that Orlistat is not a "magic pill" and should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise. There used to an over the counter version called Alli which was withdrawn from the market. This medication has not gained significant traction on the market.

Side effects

Orlistat does have some potential side effects, including gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach discomfort. These side effects can often be managed by reducing the amount of fat in the diet. Orlistat may also interact with other medications, so it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting this medication.

How can W8MD help?

At W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep and MedSpa, our weight loss physicians may prescribe Orlistat as part of a comprehensive weight loss program. We believe that a multidisciplinary approach, including medication management, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle modifications, can help individuals achieve their weight loss goals.

Also see

W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep & Medspa Centers

W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep & Medspa Centers is a network of medical centers located in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and surrounding areas that provide comprehensive care for weight loss, sleep disorders, and aesthetic treatments.

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W8MD weight loss doctors


W8MD location(s):

  1. Brooklyn, NY: NYC medical weight loss, sleep and medspa: 2632 E 21st St., Suite L2, Brooklyn, NY 11235 Contact: (718)946-5500