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What is Xenical?
Xenical, or orlistat, is used to help people lose weight by preventing some of the fat element of the food you eat from being absorbed into the body. It is used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet. Find out more about this effective weight-control drug below.
When is Xenical used?
Xenical comes in both prescription and non-prescription forms and forms part of a weight-loss programme which will include a suitable exercise regime and a low-fat, low-calorie diet. People who are seriously overweight may be given the prescription form of Xenical because they often have related issues to contend with, including high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. The drug is also used after the required weight has been lost to prevent it being gained again. Lipase inhibitors like Xenical work by stopping some food elements such as fat from being absorbed by the intestines. These elements are then expelled from the body in the stool.
How do you use Xenical?
Xenical comes in 120mg capsules, and is taken orally. You take it three times every day, along with a main meal that has a fat content. You can take the capsule up to one hour after finishing the meal if you prefer. Skip the dose if the meal doesn't have any fat in it, or if you miss the meal for any reason. Keep to the instructions for dosage and do not take either more or less of the drug than indicated. Whilst taking a course of Xenical, avoid foods containing in excess of 30% fat, and eat only small portions (up to 85 grams) of meat, poultry or fish with each serving. Go for lean meat and remove chicken skins. Follow any dietary advice or programme you have been given by medical professionals. Your recommended intake of carbohydrates, fats and proteins should be evenly spread over three main meals each day. You are much more likely to experience the potentially serious side effects of taking Xenical if you have one meal high in fat rather than spreading it over the course of the day. This is why having a clear diet plan in place before you start taking the Xenical is so important to the drug's working properly to help you reduce weight. As Xenical blocks the absorption of fat and consequently some fat-soluble vitamins (as well as beta carotene), you should take daily supplements to replace these essential vitamins. Check with your doctor for further information about this.
The normal adult dosage of Xenical for treatment of obesity is 120mg taken orally three times every day with or shortly after a main meal which has fat included in it. Do not be tempted into taking more than 120mg with a meal in the belief that this will help you shed more weight, as it has been shown that no additional benefit accrues from doing this. In fact, it may cause additional complications.
Xenical can have a number of side effects, just like any other drug, which you need to be aware of and on the lookout for when you start on this treatment. More commonly, you may have problems with your bowel movements. This generally occurs in the first week or so, but may continue for the duration of the course. Some other symptoms you may need to mention to your doctor include: • Loose stools • Stomach cramps • Headaches • Panic attacks • Pain in the rectum More seriously, you might experience: • Itching • Hives • Vomiting • Yellowing of the skin • Dark urine If you get any of these, or others mentioned in the labelling, visit your doctor without delay.
Apart from avoiding food with high fat content while taking Xenical, you should be aware that there are certain other medications that should not be taken alongside it, or at least which your doctor needs to be aware that you are taking. In particular, these include oral diabetic medicine and insulin, amiodarone, warfarin, vitamin and mineral supplements which contain Vitamin E or beta carotene, and any form of seizure medication. If you are receiving Levothyroxine therapy at the same time as your course of Xenical, the two doses need to be taken at least four hours apart, and your changes in thyroid function monitored.
Use during pregnancy, while driving or with alcohol
Xenical has not been shown to have any adverse effect on foetal development, but as weight loss in pregnant women offers no particular benefits and is potentially harmful, the use of this and other weight loss drugs is discouraged in pregnant women. If it is used, or if the woman becomes pregnant while the drug is being taken, she should see her doctor to discuss the potential implications of weight loss for the unborn baby. It is perfectly safe to drive when taking a course of Xenical, as it will not affect your cognitive abilities or reaction times. While Xenical does not interact with alcohol, abstinence is often part of a weight loss program, so it is advisable to avoid drinking while on a calorie control diet.