If you’re struggling to reach a healthy weight and you’ve already tried dieting and exercising, then slimming pills might help you to shed those extra pounds.

There are lots of weight loss pills available to buy online, but with so much choice, how do you know which is right for you? In this blog, we look at what’s available from your pharmacy – both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription-only. 

NHS-approved weight loss pills 

Orlistat is the only drug approved by the NHS for weight loss. It’s used by doctors and pharmacists to treat obesity in patients who have a body mass index of:  

  • Over 30, or 
  • Over 28 and have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes 

Where all other methods of losing weight have failed, doctors can prescribe Orlistat to help patients reach their goal. It’s designed to be used as part of a weight management plan that includes diet, exercise, and regular check-ups to monitor progress. 

Clinical trials have proven that Orlistat is effective. The results of one study showed¹

  • 60% of participants lost 5% of their body weight after 12 weeks, and 
  • 62% of those went on to achieve a total loss of 10% after 12 months 

It works by blocking the enzyme, known as lipase, that is used to break down fat. This stops the fat from being absorbed and it leaves the body as waste. 

Orlistat can prevent up to 30% of the fat you eat from being absorbed, but to be effective it must be used as part of a low-fat diet. To get the balance of absorption right, your meals should only contain 30% fat – that’s 300 calories in every 1000. 

Can you buy Orlistat over the counter? 

Also sold under the brand name Xenical, Orlistat is a prescription-only medicine but it can be bought from private pharmacies, like Post My Meds. Patients must complete a short online consultation first to make sure it is safe for them to take. 

If you’re considering buying Orlistat online, be prepared to answer questions about your health and any other medication you are currently taking. It’s important you provide accurate information to reduce your risk of experiencing any serious side effects

Additionally, there are two over-the-counter slimming pills that both contain the active ingredient, orlistat. Alli and Orlos are available to buy online and on the high street without a prescription. They contain 60mg of orlistat, that’s half the amount contained in the prescription-drugs, Orlistat and its branded alternative Xenical (120mg capsules)

Is Alli an effective weight loss treatment

Just like Orlistat, Alli is most effective when it’s used as part of a weight-management plan that also includes healthy eating and physical activity.  

In one study, more than 40% of participants lost 5% of their body weight after 12 months of taking Alli (with diet and exercise) – 5.7lbs more than the control group²

This is considered to be a clinically significant amount of weight, which can lower a person’s risk of diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, like heart disease and strokes.

Are there other OTC slimming pills?

Orlistat works by blocking the absorption of fat, but there are other diet pills on the market that work in a different way and can be bought over the counter. Some are appetite suppressants, while others block the absorption of carbohydrates.  

  • Fat-binding pills, such as XLS-Medical Fat Binder, contain a dried cactus extract that stops the absorption of fat – much like Orlistat. 
  • Carb-blocker pills, like XLS-Medical Carb Blocker, limit the amount of carbohydrate that is absorbed by the body.  
  • Clavitanol pills, such as XLS-Medical Max Strength, reduce not just how much fat and carbohydrate your body absorbs but sugar too. 

Some prescription medications for diabetes can also help limit weight gain

Glucobay (acarbose) and Glyset (miglitol) both help diabetics control their blood sugar levels, and by doing so, they block the absorption of carbohydrate. 

If you have type 2 diabetes, and you are overweight or obese, then consider asking your doctor about whether you might benefit from taking one of these drugs. 

Is it safe to buy diet pills online? 

If you’re considering buying diet pills online, make sure that you use a pharmacy that is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). 

Not all retailers selling weight loss treatments are operating safely and you can’t be certain that you will receive a genuine product – it could be fake, diluted, or out-of-date. 

All medicines and healthcare products must be approved by the UK regulator (MHRA) before they can be legally sold in this country. Some sites, run by “black market” retailers, stock unapproved products that haven’t been tested for safety.  

To check that you are buying from a registered pharmacy, look for the GPhC logo and registration number on their website. This will ensure you get the right medical advice before you buy any medicines and you can be certain the products are genuine. 

How to buy from Post My Meds

Post My Meds is registered with the GPhC and we follow a strict code of conduct – patient safety is our number one priority. You can buy Orlistat online in just a few simple steps:  

  1. View the weight loss treatment you require 
  2. Use the online consultation tool to answer some health-related questions 
  3. Select treatment and buy securely at the check-out for quick and discreet delivery 

We understand your privacy is important, so we ship all our products in discreet packaging. You can expect your weight loss treatment to arrive in a plain box or envelope with just your name and address on there and no branding. 

If you order before 4pm on a weekday or 11am on a Saturday, your order will be dispatched the same working day. After this cut-off point, it will be processed the following working day, so if you order on a Sunday, it will be dealt with on Monday. 

There’s no substitute for medical advice, so if you’re worried about your weight loss speak to our pharmacists who can help signpost you to the right 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 Nov 25, 2021 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Nov 25, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm