Orlistat is a popular prescription only weight loss medication, it isn't available over the counter and buying it from dodgy online pharmacies is not to be recommended. It is a type of drug known as fat binder, as it binds some of the fat you eat and stops you from digesting it. This reduces the number of calories you absorb from food which leads to steady, sustained weight loss.
It comes in 60mg or 120mg capsules and is marketed in the UK as Alli, and Xenical in the US. You take it before meals so it can get to work on limiting fat absorption. Orlistat sounds great so far but some people report side effects ranging from stomach cramps that have seen them led to the emergency room, to the “treatment effect” of oily stools that can sometimes be uncontrollable.
What about the specific side effects of this drug on your internal organs like your heart, liver and kidneys? Let's find out:
- Heart – Orlistat doesn't speed up your heart rate like other prescription diet pills such as Phentermine. So that's one good thing about taking this drug. However, it can cause hypertension (high blood pressure). In one case of a 40 year old female taking 120mg of Orlistat three times a day, her blood pressure increased dramatically and lowered to a normal level when the drug was discontinued (1). High blood pressure can put you at risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Liver – Although there has been no official causal relationship between liver damage and Orlistat, people have been found to have abnormal liver tests while taking this drug, An example is a 15 year old girl who was taking 120mg of Orlistat and was admitted to hospital with abnormal liver function tests (2).
- Kidneys – Renal failure has been linked to the use of Orlistat (3). Your kidneys are the main filtering organ, taking in blood and filtering out waste products ready for excretion through urine. Renal failure can cause a backup of fluid and can be extremely dangerous which is why kidney dialysis is usually recommended.
When you look at the risks and side effects, it suddenly seems like Orlistat is indeed too good to be true. It may be an effective fat binder but that comes at a cost. There are safe, effective fat binders available to buy online from reputable stores such as Proactol XS.
It isn't as strong as Orlistat containing diet pills but that leads to a gentler side effect profile. You can still expect to see a steady weight loss of 1-3lbs a week. Along with a sensisble eating and exercise plan, you can maximize your weight loss and before you know it the pounds will have melted off.
(1) Packard KA, Wurdeman RL, Reyes AP “Constipation, polyuria, polydipsia, and edema associated with orlistat.” Ann Pharmacother 36 (2002): 1168-70
(2) Umemura T, Ichijo T, Matsumoto A, Kiyosawa K “Severe hepatic injury caused by orlistat.” Am J Med 119 (2006): e7
(3) Singh A, Sarkar SR, Gaber LW, Perazella MA “Acute oxalate nephropathy associated with orlistat, a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor.” Am J Kidney Dis 49 (2007): 153-7
Hi, I'm Aileen, the owner of Diet Pill Judge. I have personally tried loads of diet pills over the years and found that only a few of them really work.
My background is in science, so I set out to find supplements that have scientific evidence behind them and which I can confidently recommend.