Xenical (generic name: Orlistat; brand name: Alli) belongs to a group of medicines called lipase inhibitors. These medicines work by preventing the absorption of dietary fat in your body rather than by suppressing your appetite.
Xenical is used to assist with losing weight, maintaining a certain weight and preventing weight regain.
Xenical is used to treat adults with an initial Body Mass Index (BMI) which measures 30 or more.
Dietary fats are large molecules that need to be broken down before they can be absorbed into the body. They are broken down by enzymes called lipases. When taken with a meal, Xenical interferes with the activity of these enzymes and allows about 30% of the fat eaten in the meal to pass through the gut undigested. Therefore, your body cannot store these excess calories as fatty tissue or use them as a source of energy. This helps you to reduce your weight by burning up fat that you are already carrying, maintain your weight loss and minimise any weight regain.
Losing even small amounts of weight and keeping it off can have additional health benefits for you, especially if you are at risk of other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Xenical can also help to improve risk factors associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. If these are not treated, they may lead to other diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.
The effects of Xenical on weight loss, weight maintenance and weight regain have been assessed in clinical trials that included more than 4000 patients.