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Xenical works by preventing about a third of the fat from the food you eat from being digested. The undigested fat is not absorbed, and is passed out with your faeces.
This helps you avoid gaining weight, but does not necessarily cause you to lose weight. Therefore, it’s still important to stick to your recommended diet and exercise plan.
Xenical is usually recommended if you have made a significant effort to lose weight through diet, exercise or changing your lifestyle. Even then, Xenical is only prescribed if you have:
• a body mass index (BMI) of 28 or more and other conditions related to weight, such as high blood pressure
• a BMI of 30 or more
Treatment must be combined with a low-fat diet and other weight loss strategies, such as doing more exercise. Xenical is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
How To Take Xenical?
Dosage and duration of treatment
One Xenical 120mg capsule is taken with each main meal (to a maximum of three capsules daily). You can take the capsule before, during or up to one hour after each meal.
If you miss a meal or the meal does not contain any fat, you may not need to take the Xenical capsule; check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication.
Treatment should only continue beyond three months if you have lost 5% of your body weight. It usually starts to affect how you digest fat within one to two days. If you have not seen results after three months, it is unlikely to be an effective treatment for you.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it can take longer to lose weight using Xenical, so your target weight loss after three months may therefore be slightly lower.
If the treatment is successful after three months, your prescription may be continued for up to a year. After that, your GP will review your condition and decide whether you should continue with the medication.
Common side effects of Xenical can include:
- fatty or oily stools
- needing the toilet urgently
- passing stools frequently
- oily discharge from your rectum (you may have oily spots on your underwear)
- flatulence (wind)
- stomach pain
Before taking any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet.