• Orlistat
  • Orlistat


From £17.50

Medication features

  • The generic version of Xenical
  • Reduces the amount of fat the body absorbs
  • Ingredient in Alli Capsules
  • Take THREE times daily with meals

NOTE: After requesting this medication, you will need to complete a short assessment, so our GP or Pharmacist can assess if the treatment is suitable for you. Pricing is provided as a reference only. The final decision on issuing this medication remains with our GP / Pharmacist.


Orlistat Online

You can request to buy Orlistat 120mg capsules online with Simple Online Pharmacy. Once you have completed the online doctor consultation, our UK trained and registered GPs will review your assessment and prescribe the selected medication if appropriate. The prescription is then passed to our UK registered pharmacy team, who will dispense and dispatch your prescription to your door. 

What is Orlistat?

Orlistat is a weight loss medication used to assist people who are overweight in reducing their BMI. It is indicated in people with a BMI over 30, or 28 for those with additional risk factors. Orlistat is the generic version of the better-known brand, Xenical. They come in capsule form, and the prescription only version contains 120mg of the active ingredient.

How Does it Work?

Orlistat capsules work by preventing around a third of the fat from the food you eat from being digested. The undigested fat is not absorbed and is passed out with your faeces. Orlistat works in the same way as the over the counter medicine Alli. They contain the same active ingredient (Orlistat), however, the prescription version is twice the strength (120mg instead of 60mg). 

Because Xenical is no longer the only manufacturer of Orlistat, this has helped lower the price of the generic form of the drug. By decreasing the amount of fat the body absorbs and improving your diet and exercise routine, it is possible to achieve significant weight loss.

Before using Orlistat or Xenical, you should read the patient information leaflet.

Losing weight with Orlistat

Orlistat helps you avoid gaining weight by reducing the amount of fat absorbed by your body. However, it does not necessarily cause you to lose weight. Therefore, it’s still important to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan. In combination, the drug can be successful in reducing your weight into a more healthy BMI range. 

Orlistat (Xenical) is usually recommended if you have made a significant effort to lose weight through diet, exercise or changing your lifestyle.

Even then, orlistat is only prescribed if you have:

  • a body mass index (BMI) of 28 or more and other conditions related to weight, such as high blood pressure
  • a BMI of 30 or more

Treatment with Orlistat (Xenical) must be combined with a low-calorie diet and other weight loss strategies, such as doing more exercise.


Orlistat is recommended to be taken over a 12 week period and most people can expect to lose around 5% of your original body weight if combined with a good lifestyle and regular exercise. The medication itself should reduce the amount of dietary fat absorbed by your body by around 33%, so this gives you a good opportunity to lose weight if you increase the amount of exercise you do.

Orlistat Dosage

The usual dosage of Orlistat is 120mg three times a day (with your meals). As it works to reduce the fat absorbed by your body, you do not need to take a dose if you skip a meal. You also don't need to take a dose if you have a 0 fat meal, as there will be not fat for the body to absorb!


  • How Does Orlistat Work for Weight Loss?

    Orlistat works by binding to the enzymes in the body to prevent the absorption of fat. On average, Orlistat will work on around a quarter to one-third of the fat you eat. Instead of this fat being absorbed, it passes through your gut. For people with high-fat diets, this can result in oily stools.

  • Who can use Orlistat?

    Orlistat is indicated in people with a BMI over 30, or in people who have a BMI over 28, with another weight-related condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

  • What is the difference between Orlistat and Xenical?

    Xenical is the branded version of the drug, Orlistat. Orlistat is the generic form of Xenical. Medically, they are exactly the same drug and contain exactly the same strength (120mg of Orlistat).

  • What is the difference between Orlistat / Xenical and Alli?

    Alli is an over the counter version of Orlistat, which is half the strength of the prescribed version. Alli contains 60mg of Orlistat, compared to 120mg in Xenical and generic prescription Orlistat.

  • What is the dosage and duration of treatment of Orlistat?

    One Orlistat capsule is taken with each main meal (to a maximum of three capsules daily). You can take the capsule before, during or up to one hour after each meal.

    If you miss a meal or the meal does not contain any fat, you may not need to take the orlistat capsule; check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication.

    Treatment with Orlistat (Xenical) should only continue beyond three months if you have lost 5% of your body weight. It usually starts to affect how you digest fat within one to two days.

    If orlistat has not worked after three months, it is unlikely to be an effective treatment for you.

    If you have type 2 diabetes, it can take longer to lose weight using Orlistat (Xenical), so your target weight loss after three months may, therefore, be slightly lower.

    If Orlistat (Xenical) is successful after three months, your prescription may be continued for up to a year. After that, your GP will review your condition and decide whether you should continue with Orlistat (Xenical).

  • How effective is Orlistat?

    Orlistat helps reduce fat absorption by 25-33%. In trials, patients on Orlistat are twice as likely to lose over 10% of their body weight over the course of a year, in comparison to someone using diet alone. It should be noted, when taking Orlistat, diet and exercise are still key to achieving best results.

  • What can you eat when taking Orlistat?

    You should aim to reduce the fat in your diet when taking Orlistat, however, you can continue to eat normal foods.


Treatment Comparison

IngredientOrlistat 60mgOrlistat 120mgOrlistat 120mg
MechanismReduces fat absorptionReduces fat absorptionReduces fat absorption
DoseOne three times daily with mealsOne three times daily with mealsOne three times daily with meals

Side Effects

Side effects of Orlistat

Common side effects of Orlistat (Xenical) can include:

  • fatty or oily stools
  • needing the toilet urgently
  • passing stools frequently
  • oily discharge from your rectum (you may have oily spots on your underwear)
  • flatulence (wind)
  • stomach pain
  • headaches

These side effects are much less likely to occur if you stick to a low-fat diet.

Women taking the oral contraceptive pill are advised to use an additional method of contraception, such as a condom if they experience severe diarrhoea while taking orlistat. This is because the contraceptive pill may not be absorbed by your body if you have diarrhoea, so it may not be effective.

If you have any side effects you are concerned about, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.


Info Leaflet

Before taking any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet. You can find information leaflets for your medicines by typing them into the search bar at medicines.org, or by contacting us.



Orlistat should not be taken if you are

  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Have a BMI less than 28
  • Are under 18

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