There are many dieting fads and weight loss techniques that have a bad reputation, but the prescription-only medication Orlistat (or Xenical) is described by the NHS as the only clinically tested anti-obesity medicine that is safe and effective.

You can buy Orlistat online here at PostMyMeds. All you need to do is fill out a short online consultation form, and once our pharmacists confirm it’s suitable for you to use, you can have a prescription delivered to your door in as little as 24 hours.

The normal dose is one capsule – 120 mg, three times a day with each meal. However, you do not need to take one if there is no fat in the meal or if you miss a meal.

normal dose of Orlistat

The normal dose of Orlistat is one 120mg capsule, taken three times daily

One orlistat capsule is taken with water immediately before, during or up to one hour after, each main meal (up to a maximum of three capsules a day). If you miss a meal, or the meal doesn’t contain any fat, you shouldn’t take the orlistat capsule.

Although Orlistat is a long established medication it may not be suitable for everyone. In some patients it should not be used at all, while others should use with caution. You should always read the patient information leaflet of Orlistat before taking it to ensure it is safe for you.

This leaflet also provides some advice about what you should eat while you’re taking Orlistat, but we’re going to look at that in a bit more detail here.

Low calorie diet

Sustainable weight loss is normally achieved in small, gradual increments, even if you’re taking Orlistat. For most people it tends to be best, therefore, not to go completely cold turkey with certain foods that you might enjoy. Instead you should concentrate on eating a balanced diet while keeping a close eye on the amount of calories you’re taking in.

There’s no single rule that applies to everyone, but to lose weight at a safe and sustainable rate of 0.5 to 1kg (1lb to 2lbs) a week, most people should reduce their energy intake by 600 calories a day. For most men, this will mean consuming no more than 1,900 calories a day. For most women, that number is about 1,400 calories a day.

follow a low calorie diet whilst taking Orlistat

Sticking to a low calorie diet is important, regular exercise can also help

There’s a lot of advice out there on the best tips and tricks to help you do this, but the way you cook can make a big difference to the amount of calories (and of particular importance when you’re taking Orlistat, fat) in your diet. Try to grill/steam/poach/boil/dry oven roast your food instead of frying or roasting with oil.

Foods which are high in sugar and fat usually contain lots of calories so cutting down on them is obviously a good idea, but a treat every now and then might be the thing that helps you stick to a reduced calorie diet.

Have hot drinks without sugar or use a sweetener instead. Choose ‘no added sugar’ squashes, diet, slimline fizzy drinks and choose tinned fruit in natural juice rather than in syrup. That way you might be able to fit the occasional treat into your reduced calorie diet!

Other useful tips for a reduced calorie diet include:

  • Use tomato-based sauces rather than creamy ones
  • Use herbs and spices to flavour your food
  • Steam/boil/microwave vegetables in a small amount of water to conserve as much nutrients as possible
  • Make use of fresh/frozen/canned vegetables- they’re all a good source of vitamins!
  • Plan your meals so you always have a structure to refer to
  • Try not to keep food you shouldn’t be eating in the house

Orlistat may interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), so patients are recommended to take a daily multivitamin as part of their diet while they’re still taking this medication. The multivitamin should be taken 2 hours after taking Orlistat or before going to bed.

How long can you stay on Orlistat?

Orlistat usually starts to affect how you digest fat within one to two days. Treatment should only continue beyond three months if you’ve lost 5% of your body weight.

If you haven’t lost weight after taking orlistat for three months, it’s unlikely to be an effective treatment for you. Consult your doctor or pharmacist, as it may be necessary to stop your treatment.

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Jan 16, 2019 by Thomas Hall
Reviewed Dec 14, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm