Xenical vs alli: Which Orlistat Dose is Best?

Alli (orlistat). Pricegrabber

If you're trying to lose weight, you might consider a diet pill like Xenical or alli. Both weight loss aids contain the same medication called orlistat, only in different amounts. But how do you know which dose of orlistat is best?

Before you make a decision about which dose of orlistat to use, learn as much as you can about the pros and cons of taking Xenical vs alli.  Then, be sure to talk to your doctor before you make a final choice.

What is Xenical?

Xenical is the prescription dose (120 mg) of orlistat. You need to get approval from your doctor before you can use it. This type of medication is called a lipase inhibitor because it helps your body to absorb less fat from the food that you eat. The undigested fat is removed from the body in your stool.

Xenical is designed to be used along with a low-fat, low-calorie diet. This higher dose of the orlistat is often used for patients who have weight-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. Xenical can also be used for people who have lost weight and want to prevent weight regain.

 What is alli?

alli diet pills contain a lower dose of orlistat (60mg) and are available over the counter (OTC).  That means you don't need a prescription to buy them. In fact, alli is currently the only OTC diet pill that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

  But just because the product is available without a prescription, doesn't mean you should take it without first talking to your doctor.  Some people should avoid orlistat, even at the lower dose.

Boxes of alli are easy to find in pharmacies, drug stores, and other locations. The lower dose works the same way the higher dose works, so dieters who take alli need to follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet and may experience the same side effects as patients taking the higher dose.

Xenical vs alli: Side Effects

For most people, the most noticeable side effect of Xenical or alli is the change in their stool and bowel habits. Because fat is removed through the stool, bowel movements can become loose and oily. If you eat too much fat while taking the medication, the side effects can become more severe and can interfere with typical daily activities.

Because fat content is important, dieters taking the medication need to be especially careful about dividing their fat and calorie intake evenly throughout the day. No single food that you eat should contain more than 30% of the total calories from fat. In addition, since food and nutrient absorption is affected by this medication, the FDA recommends that users take a multivitamin while on the diet drug.

Xenical vs alli: Cost

A 120-pill pack of alli costs about $60 at your local drug store. Coupons for $10 off may be available through the alli website. If you choose to buy the OTC medication, be sure to purchase from a reliable vendor.

  In 2014, there were incidences of product tampering and the pills had to be pulled from the market for a short period of time.

A 30-pill prescription of Xenical may cost significantly more, ranging from $160 and up. Patients are usually directed to take one pill with each main meal to help them lose weight.  In some cases, insurance providers may pay for the weight loss medication if your weight is the cause of a related illness. But all policies vary, so be sure to check with your own insurance carrier to find out if the drug is covered for you.

Xenical vs alli: What's the Best Choice for You?

Orlistat has been shown to be effective at helping some people lose weight and keep it off. But significant lifestyle modifications must be made, or the consequences can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Think about the changes you are willing to make before you talk to your health care provider. Then discuss further potential side effects and medical considerations with your doctor before making a final decision.

Sources:

Medline Plus. Orlistat. National Institutes of Health. Accessed: February 19, 2013. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601244.html

Kopelman P, Groot Gde H, Rissanen A, Rossner S, Toubro S, Palmer R, Hallam R, Bryson A, Hickling RI."Weight loss, HbA1c reduction, and tolerability of cetilistat in a randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial in obese diabetics: comparison with orlistat (Xenical)" Obesity January 2010 .

Torgerson JS, Hauptman J, Boldrin MN, Sjöström L. "XENical in the prevention of diabetes in obese subjects (XENDOS) study: a randomized study of orlistat as an adjunct to lifestyle changes for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in obese patients." Diabetes Care March 2004 .

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