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See also: How alli worksCan I buy alli?Alli supportHow to take alliDiet tipsBMI CalculatorWeight loss target calculator

Orlistat is the active ingredient in alli, the weight loss treatment that has recently been released in the UK. It helps to reduce the amount of fat that is absorbed by the body when you eat, therefore reducing the number of calories that are absorbed. Orlistat is also the active ingredient in Xenical, which is a prescription treatment similar to alli.
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How Orlistat Works

In order to absorb fat, the body needs to break it down. It does this by using enzymes, which are molecules produced by the body that, in this case, break down the fat molecules. Orlistat works by inhibiting an enzyme called gastric lipase, which works within the stomach and intestine to break down fat. This means that when eating a meal in conjunction with Orlistat, a proportion of the fat that is eaten does not get broken down and hence does not get absorbed by the body. The proportion of undigested fat is around 25% when Orlistat is taken at a dose of 60mg, as is the case with alli. Taking Orlistat at higher doses does not have much more effect. With Xenical, which has 120mg of Orlistat, the proportion of undigested fat is 30% - only 5% more.

The undigested fat passes through the intestine and comes out via the stools. This means that if you have a very high-fat meal with Orlistat, you will have very oily stools, with similar symptoms to diarrhoea. The alli weight-loss pill is therefore part of a regime that must be maintained in order to avoid this side-effect. Alli comes with a starter pack full of dietary advice that, if followed, will help to avoid these side effects. Sticking to this dietary advice is, of course, a matter of will-power!

The History of Orlistat

Orlistat first appeared in the form of Xenical, which contained a 120mg dose of Orlistat. Xenical first appeared in Europe and the UK in 1998 and was released in America the following year. Xenical was quite successful, but was only available on prescription. This meant that you had to visit your doctor in order to obtain your prescription, then take the prescription to a pharmacy to actually receive the drug. This was a hassle for some, and embarrassing for others, particularly as you often have to take time off work to see a doctor. In addition, because Xenical is considered a "lifestyle" drug, doctors are reluctant to prescribe Xenical for free on the NHS. This means that you would need to get a private prescription, which means paying to see the doctor and paying for the Xenical itself.

Alli was released as a way of taking Orlistat without having to see your doctor. You can buy Alli over the counter at a chemist, or buy alli online at Express Chemist. Buying Alli online at Express Chemist is ideal, because we ship all orders discreetly in plain packaging. We also offer a very good price.

The dose of Orlistat in Alli is lower than with Xenical. In Alli, the dose is 60mg, rather than 120mg of Orlistat in Xenical. However, it has been shown that this only makes 5% difference to the effectiveness of the treatment.

Buy alli from Express Chemist to save the hassle and potential embarrassment of talking to your doctor or pharmacist face to face. By law, it is necessary for pharmacists to ask questions about your weight in order to ensure that alli is dispensed appropriately. At Express Chemist, you can do this online using our BMI calculator, which calculates your Body Mass Index to ensure that you are suitable to take Alli.

Why wasn't Alli available before?

When treatments are first released to the public, they are usually available only on prescription from a doctor. This gives the regulatory authorities time to see for themselves whether the treatment is effective, and whether it is safe.

Orlistat has now been on trial, in the form of Xenical, since 1998 which is long enough to establish that it is safe. Between then and now, the lower-strength dose - now known as Alli - has also undergone clinical trials, and has been shown to be safe and effective. In fact, almost as effective as Xenical.

Because Alli is so effective, we do ask that you do not overdose on Alli. It does not make much difference at a higher strength. If the instructions are followed correctly, you are likely to achieve successful results with Alli.

The Philosophy behind Orlistat

Because Orlistat allows some fat to be digested, it is not marketed as a magic pill. Orlistat and Alli should be seen as a whole philosophy, a regime that boosts the effectiveness of your existing weight loss programme. If you are already losing weight, then Alli is clinically proven to help you lose a bit more. Trials have shown that people on a weight loss regime taking Alli have lost 50% more weight than people on on a weight loss regime taking a placebo. This means that for every 2 pounds you lose by yourself, Alli helps you lose 1 pound more (or of course, for every 2 kilos that you lose by yourself, Alli helps you lose 1 kilo more!).


Orlistat is not a miracle cure for obesity.

Orlistat can have side-effects. The main side-effect is that if you eat too much fat, then you will have oily stools, or even diarrhoea. Of course, this can be seen as a reminder not to eat too much fat. If you are optimistic, it's a sign that Orlistat/Alli is working!

You should not take Orlistat if you are allergic to any of the ingredients (see below), are taking ciclosporin, warfarin or other oral anticoagulants, have chronic malabsorption sydrome or have cholestasis.

Pregant or breast-feeding women should not take orlistat. You should also be advised that due to the fact that orlistat can prevent food from being digested, women who use the oral contraceptive pill may find that it is less effective when taking Orlistat. You are therefore advised to try an additional contraceptive method if experiencing diarrhoea-like symptoms.

Orlistat can impair the absorption of some vitamins, particularly vitamins A,D,E and K that are fat-soluble. Because of this, it is recommended that Orlistat users take a multivitamin tablet before bedtime, after the effect of Orlistat has worn off. This allows the fat-soluble vitamins to be digested and absorbed properly overnight.

You should not start to take Alli if your body mass index (BMI) is under 28. You can calculate your Body Mass Index using our BMI calculator.

Ingredients of Alli

Active Ingredient: Orlistat 60ml.
Inactive Ingredients: FD&C Blue No.2 • edible ink • gelatin • iron oxide • microcrystalline cellulose • povidone • sodium lauryl sulfate • sodium starch glycoate • talc • titanium dioxide.