What are Orlos (Orlistat) capsules?
Orlos capsules are weight loss medication that contains an active ingredient called orlistat. They can be used alongside a low-fat diet and a healthy lifestyle to help you to lose more weight than dieting alone. Orlos doesn’t do all of the work for you, but it helps to make your hard work count for more. For example, if you lose 4lb with dieting alone, Orlos can help you to lose 2lb more! If you have a BMI of 28 or over and are starting to follow a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, Orlos could help you to meet your weight loss goals.
How will Orlistat help me to lose weight?
Orlistat is the active ingredient in Orlos capsules and it works by changing how your body absorbs fat. When you take orlistat, it stops a quarter of the fat in your food from being absorbed into your body, so it can be passed with your stools. This can help you to lose weight when combined with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, as it helps to reduce your overall fat intake.
Do I have to have a certain BMI to be able to take these capsules?
Orlos is designed for those who have a BMI (body mass index) of 28 or over. For example, if you’re 5’6” (170cm) tall, and weigh 12st 5lbs (81kg) or over, then you have a BMI of 28 and can take this product. If you weigh less than this, you should not take Orlos. If you’re not sure what your BMI is, the NHS has a BMI calculator that can do the hard work for you.
Will I be able to eat whatever I want while I’m taking Orlistat?
Orlistat isn’t a miracle weight loss cure; it simply helps your good choices to go a little further. With that in mind, you’re not going to be able to eat whatever you want and still lose weight while taking Orlos. Orlos should be used alongside your diet, not instead of it, and works best when taken as part of a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet.
Can I take these capsules if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not take Orlos capsules. If you’re trying to lose weight or are thinking about making changes to your diet during pregnancy, speak to your doctor, midwife or pharmacist for advice.
Can I take this product if I’m taking other medication?
If you’re taking other medication, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Orlos to be sure that they are safe to take together. Do not take these capsules if you are taking:
- Ciclosporin, which is given after organ transplants, for severe rheumatoid arthritis, and some severe skin conditions
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as warfarin
- Acarbose, an anti-diabetic drug used to treat type 2 diabetes
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking this product if you are taking:
- Amiodarone, which is used for heart rhythm problems
- Thyroid medicine, such as levothyroxine. You may need to adjust your dose and medication timings
- Epilepsy medication
- Medications for HIV
- Medications for depression, anxiety, or psychiatric disorders
- Medicine for high blood pressure
- Medicine for high cholesterol
Can I take Orlos if I’m taking the contraceptive pill?
When you’re taking Orlos, you may find that you experience severe diarrhoea. If this happens to you, you should use an extra method of contraception until the diarrhoea has passed.
How to take Orlos capsules
Take one Orlos capsule 3 times a day. Swallow with a sip of water during a meal or up to one hour after meals. For best results, spread these evenly throughout the day and take after a balanced meal, for example, after your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you skip a meal or your meal contains no fat, do not take your Orlos capsule, as it will not work if there is no fat in your meal. Do not take more than 3 capsules a day.
How long should I take this medication for?
You shouldn’t take Orlos for more than 6 months. This should be enough to help to kick start your weight loss as you make positive changes to your diet and get into the habit of exercising more often. If you haven’t lost any weight after taking these capsules for 12 weeks, speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist for advice.
Why do I have to answer questions before I can buy Orlos?
You do not need a prescription for Orlos capsules, however, you will be asked to complete a short medical questionnaire by your Chemist 4 U pharmacist before we can take your order. This includes some simple questions that all pharmacies legally are required to ask before supplying this kind of product. This helps our pharmacy team to be sure that this product is the best choice for you.
When should this product not be used?
Orlos capsules should not be used by anyone under the age of 18. Do not take this product if you are allergic to Orlistat or any of the other listed ingredients. Do not take this product if you have cholestasis, which is a condition where the flow of bile from your liver is blocked. Do not take these capsules if you have been diagnosed with chronic malabsorption syndrome, which causes problems absorbing food. Speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist before taking this product if you:
- Have diabetes – your diabetic medication may need to be changed
- Have kidney disease – this product may be associated with kidney stones in those with chronic kidney disease
Does this medication have any side effects?
Like all medication, Orlos can have side effects, although not everyone will experience them. If you experience any of the following side effects, stop use and speak to your doctor right away:
- Signs of a severe allergic reaction, e.g. breathing difficulties, sweating, rash, itching, swollen face, neck, tongue, or throat, rapid heartbeat, collapse
- Bleeding from your back passage
- Inflammation of your large intestine, showing side effects such as lower stomach pain, particularly on the left side, potentially with fever or constipation
- Pancreatitis, showing symptoms such as severe abdominal pain sometimes radiating towards the back, possibly with fever, nausea, and vomiting
- Gallstones causing severe stomach pain
- Hepatitis, showing symptoms such as yellowing skin and eyes, itching, dark coloured urine, stomach pain, liver tenderness (pain under the front of the rib cage on your right-hand side), sometimes loss of appetite
- A build-up of calcium oxalate which can lead to kidney stones
Other side effects you may experience include:
- Wind, which may be accompanied by oily spotting
- Sudden bowel movements
- Oily discharge, fatty or oily stools
- Soft stools
- Stomach pain
- Runny/ liquid stools
- More frequent bowel movements
- Increase in some liver enzymes (shown in blood tests)
- Effects on blood clotting in those who are taking blood thinners such as warfarin
If you experience these or any other side effects while using this medication, speak to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can. For more information about reporting the side effects of medication, please see the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme.
What are diet-related treatment effects?
The way Orlos capsules work in your body means that you may experience some side effects, especially during the first few weeks of treatment or if you eat a high-fat meal. These side effects are called diet-related treatment effects and you can reduce them by minimising the amount of fat in your diet. The most common of these side effects include:
- Wind, which may be accompanied by oily spotting
- Sudden or more frequent bowel movements
- Soft stools
There are a few things you can do to help to prevent these side effects from occurring, including:
- Starting your low-fat diet a few days before taking Orlos capsules
- Check food labels to see how much fat is in your food and monitor the size of your portions
- Distribute your fat intake throughout the day, rather than eating one high-fat meal or treat
Most people find that following these guidelines and adjusting their diet helps them to manage these side effects. However, you should speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about any of the side effects of this product. Don’t worry if you don’t experience these side effects at all, as this doesn’t mean that the capsules aren’t working.
How to store this product
Store in a cool, dry place which is below 25 degrees C. Do not use if the expiry date printed on the original packaging has passed. Keep out of sight and reach of children.
This product is a medicine; make sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist before taking this product if you have an underlying medical problem or are taking any other medicine or complementary therapy. If your symptoms get worse or continue after taking this product, contact us or your doctor. For medical services in your area, please refer to https://www.nhs.uk
If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking this product. If you suffer from any allergies, ask your doctor or our pharmacist if this medicine is right for you.
Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children.
Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product.
Please contact your GP if appropriate regarding this product.
Helpful Advice on Medication Restrictions & Addiction
For further information on our medication restrictions policy, please click here.
If you are concerned about addiction to 'over the counter' medication, we urge you to visit the below links for professional help and advice:
Each hard capsule contains 60mg of orlistat
Capsule filling: Microcrystalline cellulose (E460), Sodium starch glycolate (type A), Sillica colloidal anhydrous, Sodium lauryl sulphate
Capsule shell: Gelatine, Indigo carmine (E132), Titanium dioxide (E171)
I want to know if the capsules are suitable for veg. Thanks
These capsules contain Gelatin, which is made from animal products.
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