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Xenical is a weight loss drug that is available only by prescription from a licensed doctor or other healthcare professional. It is manufactured by the Roche pharmaceutical company. It is typically prescribed for individuals who are obese in order to help them to lose weight when they have been struggling to do so.

How Xenical Helps with Weight Loss

As a drug meant only for obese individuals, Xenical will be prescribed to patients whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 30, and whose weight puts them at greater risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Without the proper BMI, you will not be prescribed this drug. This is because there is a risk of serious and potentially life-threatening consequences if it is taken by individuals who are not significantly overweight.

Xenical helps with weight loss because its active ingredient, Orlistat, blocks the absorption of up to a third of the fat that is consumed in foods. Orlistat works by stopping the enzyme that breaks down fats in your diet from doing its job. As such, dietary fats cannot be broken down into smaller pieces for the body to absorb. The fat that is not absorbed during digestion as a result of the use of this drug is expelled from the body with the rest of its waste.

That being said, it should be noted that while fat may be blocked, orlistat does not prevent the body from absorbing calories from sugar and other non-fat foods. Therefore, while taking Xenical, you will still be required to restrict your total intake of calories. In fact, this prescription diet drug is meant to be used in conjunction with doctor-approve exercise, reduced-calorie diet and behavior change.

This product has been proven effective in clinical studies. Orlistat’s high performance in clinical studies makes many doctors and patients confident of the efficacy of this drug.

Not Without Side Effects

Unfortunately, as a prescription drug, Xenical is also associated with some unpleasant potential side effects. These include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Trapped wind and flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Anxiety

That being said, the most common side effects of Xenical are related to changes in bowl function. These effects occur and are a risk for anyone who takes this medication due to its ability to block unabsorbed fat. Unpleasant changes in bowl function include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Fatty/oily stool
  • Oil spotting
  • Intestinal gas with discharge
  • Feeling as though you need to have a bowel movement immediately
  • More frequent bowel movements
  • Poor bowel control

The best way to prevent or reduce these side effects is to take this medication as prescribed, including carefully following all your doctor’s directions in regard to diet. If you eat more fat than you should, these effects are likely to worsen. That being said, if you do experience the above side effects and they persist or worsen, notify your doctor right away. 

Listen to Your Doctor’s Recommendations

As Xenical works by blocking the absorption of some fat by the body, there is a risk that some nutrients will not adequately be absorbed, either. This is because many vitamins and minerals are fat soluble and are therefore absorbed by the body through fat digestion. Therefore, your doctor will likely advise you to take a form of multivitamin on a daily basis along with the use of this medication.

Your doctor will also likely recommend a lower-fat diet while you take Xenical because the more fat you eat, the more will be sent out of the body through defecation. Excess fat in the stool can lead to the side effects relating to gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. For this reason, it is advised that you carefully follow the doctor’s instructions for taking this pill, and consult him or her if you need advice relating to the foods that should be consumed and those that should be avoided.

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