Xenical is a prescription-only weight loss medication
Xenical is a weight loss tablet used to help you lose weight by changing how your body absorbs fat. It is a prescription-only medication that you must reach certain weight and health criteria in order to be prescribed. While Xenical can help you lose weight, it’s most effective when taken in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
If you have any questions about taking Xenical, starting a weight loss treatment or your general health, you can always message an IMC registered ZAVA doctor for free through your patient account.
How to buy Xenical
You can buy Xenical from pharmacies providing you have a prescription for it from a doctor. This is to make sure Xenical is safe and suitable for you to take. Never purchase Xenical from anywhere without a prescription, and we recommend that your prescription is written by an IMC registered doctor.
You can get a prescription for Xenical from ZAVA by completing a short online questionnaire for a doctor to review. Here, you’ll answer questions about your health and weight. If approved for treatment, an IMC registered ZAVA doctor will issue your prescription.
Who can use Xenical?
You can only take Xenical if you have a BMI of over 30kg/m2 or you have a BMI 28kg/m2, and other medical conditions like Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Xenical will usually be recommended to people who match these criteria and have struggled to lose weight with other methods beforehand.
Is Xenical the same as Orlistat?
Yes. Xenical contains the same active ingredient and works in exactly the same way as Orlistat. The only difference between these medications is their name and branding.
How does Xenical work?
Xenical changes how your body absorbs fats from meals. It does this by blocking an enzyme in your intestines called lipase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down fat for your body to absorb. By blocking this enzyme, your body instead passes more fats from each meal as waste, which should help you lose weight.
How long does Xenical take to work?
Xenical starts working quickly and can get to work within 2 days of starting treatment. However, it can take up to 2 weeks of using Xenical before you see any results. Most people taking Xenical will start to get the results they want within 3 months of taking it.
If you’re not getting the results you want within 3 months and have not lost at least 5% of the weight you were at before starting treatment, you should speak to your doctor.
How much weight can you lose with Xenical?
How much weight you can lose with Xenical depends on your starting weight and how your body is responding to the medication. Studies have shown that Xenical can help you lose up to 20% of your body weight within 3-6 months of treatment. It’s important to note that how much weight you can lose on Xenical will also be affected by whether you’re making healthy lifestyle choices alongside the treatment.
How do you take Xenical?
Xenical is taken as a tablet which you swallow whole with water before meals containing fat. You can take it up to 3 times a day following each meal, but you should not take it if you skip a meal or the meal contains no fat. You can take Xenical immediately before, during or up to 1 hour after a main meal.
Always take Xenical exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
How to get best results from Xenical
To get the best results while taking Xenical, you should:
- Try to maintain a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables.
- Only around 30% of your calories should come from fat.
- You should monitor your daily intake of fat, protein and carbohydrates to make sure you have a healthy balance in your meals.
- Avoid eating sweets and fatty foods between meals, like biscuits, cakes or savoury snacks
- We recommend at least 5 sessions of 30 minutes of moderate exercise per week. By trying to maintain this, you will reach your weight loss goals faster.
What should I do if I take more Xenical than I should?
If you take too much Xenical, contact your doctor immediately for advice.
What should I do if I forget to take Xenical?
If you miss a dose of Xenical, take it as soon as you remember if it’s within an hour of your last meal. If it’s not, wait till your next meal.
Xenical side effects and cautions?
Common Xenical side effects:
- Stomach discomfort
- Urgency to empty your bowels
- Oily or fatty stools
- Low blood glucose (in people with diabetes)
- Passing wind often
Less common Xenical side effects:
- Pain in the anal area
- Soft stools or diarrhoea
If you get severe or persistent side effects while taking Xenical, you should contact your doctor for advice.
In rare cases, Xenical can cause an allergic reaction. If you think you are experiencing an allergic reaction to Xenical, you should call 112 or seek immediate medical advice.
Common allergic reaction symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Itching and skin rash
- Wheals (patches on the skin)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling unwell
Who should not take Xenical?
Do not take Xenical if:
- You are allergic to any of its ingredients
- You have cholestasis (liver condition)
- You have chronic malabsorptive disorder
- You are breastfeeding
Xenical may not be suitable for you, and you should inform your doctor before taking it if you:
- are taking medicines for diabetes
- are taking medicines for high cholesterol
- have chronic kidney disease
- are using the contraceptive pill
- have a high daily fat intake
Drug interactions with Xenical
Xenical can interact with:
- Anticoagulants (warfarin)
- Thyroid medicines
- Medicines to treat HIV
- Medicines for depression or anxiety
- Antiepileptic medicines
- Antidiabetic medicines (acarbose)
You should always inform your doctor of any medications you are taking before taking Xenical. They will be able to make sure it’s safe for you to take alongside these before you start.
Read the patient information leaflet supplied with Xenical for a full list of interactions and side effects.
Can I take Xenical if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant, you must let your doctor know before taking Xenical. You must also tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking Xenical.
You can not take Xenical if you are breastfeeding.
Can I drive or operate machinery while taking Xenical?
There is no evidence that suggests it would be unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery while taking Xenical.
Xenical will not influence your ability to drive or operate machinery.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 08 Dec 2022