Orlistat is a weight loss medicine that works by interfering with fat digestion and absorption. It blocks nearly a third of the fat you eat, causing the fat to pass through your body, and is taken with each meal—if the meal has fat in it. For this reason, a low-fat diet is advised to prevent gastrointestinal distress. The majority of the weight lost while on Orlistat is attributed to the change in diet, and on average, people who use Orlistat only lose about five to ten percent of their original weight. Orlistat is a medication for people who are truly overweight.
It is not a medication for people with a healthy BMI who want to lose weight. If you are overweight or obese, Orlistat may be right for you, but if you are looking for a weight loss medicine because your BMI is healthy but you want to lose weight, diet and exercise are more effective than Orlistat. Your BMI should be at least 28 or higher if you want to use Orlistat, and if your BMI is not at least 30, it is recommended that you only use Orlistat if you have a medical condition that would benefit from losing weight, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Remember that Orlistat is not going to do it all; you cannot let up on other weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise, and expect Orlistat to do all the work. First of all, Orlistat will cause gastrointestinal distress if you do not switch to a low-fat diet. Second of all, Orlistat only reduces weight by five to ten percent, and stopping other weight loss methods is likely to increase weight at the same rate that Orlistat reduces it, if not higher. In short, Orlistat is a supplement to existing weight loss methods. If you don’t know your BMI, it is simple to calculate. BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. That’s kg/(m x m).
If Orlistat is right for you and you live in Australia, you’re in luck: Orlistat is an over-the-counter medication in Australia. In most countries, it is a prescription medication, but not in Australia.
The most frequent side effects of Orlistat are oily or fatty stool, fecal incontinence, frequent bowel movements, urgent bowel movements, and excessive flatulence. Side effects are less likely with a low-fat diet, recommended to be no more than 15 grams per meal. Part of the way Orlistat works is as aversion therapy, training you and your body to associate fat with unpleasant side effects. Remember that Orlistat should be used with not only a healthy diet, but with a healthy amount of exercise. Weight loss should occur in as little as three months, or Orlistat use should not continue. A multivitamin should be taken before bedtime in conjunction with Orlistat in order to ensure healthy vitamin levels. Orlistat can interfere with the absorption of certain medications, so if you are on other medications you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Orlistat. Orlistat should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women, people under the age of 18, people who have a condition where food is not absorbed properly, or people with cholestasis. It can also affect the contraceptive pill; if you get severe diarrhea, you should use other contraceptive methods in addition to the pill. If you think Orlistat is right for you, and you live in Australia, you can get some from a pharmacy and start using it immediately.