Alli (orlistat) is an FDA-approved over-the-counter (OTC) medication to enhance weight loss in overweight people, meaning that no prescription is needed to purchase Alli. It is recommended in combination with a healthy diet for patients older than 18 years. Alli, which contains 60mg of orlistat, was approved by the agency in 1999 as a reduced and milder version of Xenical, which is a prescription drug that is composed of 120mg of orlistat.

The diet pills were developed and are commercialized by GlaxoSmith Kline (GSK) and may be used by both patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30, which is already considered obesity, or by overweight patients, with a BMI between 27 and 29. The existence of comorbidities like diabetes or high blood pressure are not preventive from using Alli.

History of Alli

Despite the fact that orlistat has been commercialized in the US since 1999, Alli was only approved by the FDA in 2007. Since it has half the amount of orlistat than Xenical, it is a less aggressive treatment and may also be used by overweight patients, instead of just obese ones. It is currently the only OTC using orlistat as main ingredient. Alli gained the positive opinion of the FDA, but in 2010, the agency altered the medication’s safety recommendation after cases of severe liver injury in patients treated with orlistat. Another controversial moment marked the history of Alli when in 2014, GlaxoSmith Kline had to withdraw it from the U.S. market due to tampered packages.

How Alli Works

The medication is expected to result in weight loss, as it reduces the absorption of dietary fat in the intestines. It inhbits the normal function of the enzyme lipase, which is present in the digestive tract and is responsible for breaking down dietary fat to increase absorption and storage. Alli is taken with the meals containing fat up to three times per day and it is not recommended with meals that do not have fat or with high-fat meals, since it can aggravate gastrointestinal side effects.

The nutrients that are not properly absorbed by people using Alli are beta carotene and vitamins A, D, E and K, while the limitation is about 30% of the fat consumed. In addition, a multivitamin can be taken two hours after Alli pills. The weight loss is on average 5.5 pounds more than when patients make behavioral changes alone, according to a study conducted in 2014. However, the weight loss results and maintenance is more successful if accompanied by a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Other Details About Alli

Gastrointestinal side effects from taking Alli are the most common, including abdominal pain or discomfort, oily or gas discharge from the anus, oily stools, more frequent or uncontrollable bowel movements, and other less frequent events, such as headache, back pain and upper respiratory infection. The most severe side effect is liver injury, which can be identified by symptoms like itching, loss of appetite, yellow eyes or skin, light-colored stool and brown urine.

Despite the fact that it is not required a prescription to acquire and take Alli, a visit to the doctor may be helpful since not everyone can take the pills. The use of Alli is not recommended for people who suffer from diabetes, thyroid disease, irregular heartbeat, cardiovascular disease, seizures, or problems absorbing food, as well as for submitted to organ transplant and pregnant women.

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