What is Orlistat?

Orlistat is a drug from the group of lipase inhibitors which can be used to support a weight-reducing diet. Orlistat inhibits the fat-digesting enzymes in the intestine, so-called lipases, and thus ensures that less fat is absorbed from food. This happens without the affected person developing less appetite.

Taking it should enable those affected to lose about ten percent of their body weight. In Germany, Orlistat is available only on prescription under the trade name Xenical. However, drugs containing Orlistat are also available in smaller doses.

INDIKATIONS for taking

Orlistat is a pharmacy-only and partly prescription drug that should only be taken under certain conditions. Patients with a body mass index of over 30kg/m2 can take Orlistat as an accompaniment to a calorie-reduced diet. If the body mass index is greater than 28kg/m2 and there are risk factors for obesity-induced diseases, it is also possible to take Orlistat. The intake should always be controlled by a physician and should not be carried out independently without the appropriate requirements.

PRINCIPLE OF EFFECT: How does Orlistat work?

The active ingredient orlistat is an inhibitor of gastrointestinal lipases. These are enzymes that break down and convert food fats in the gastrointestinal tract so that they can be absorbed by the body. These lipases also exist in other parts of the body, but since orlistat is hardly ever absorbed, its effect is largely limited to the intestine.

The effect of Orlistat is long-lasting and specific to this task. Orlistat already works in the stomach and continues its action in the small intestine. The active ingredient attaches itself covalently to a specific chemical ending, the serine residue, of the enzymes.

This means that the bond is permanent and this enzyme can no longer perform its task. The converted enzymes are now no longer able to break down the triglycerides, i.e. dietary fats, into their individual components and thus the body cannot absorb these fats. The body must then form new enzymes to break down the fats.

Orlistat does not have a hundred percent hit rate, but only reduces the amount of functioning fat splitting enzymes. Due to the reduced absorption of fats, less fat also reaches the body cells and fat stores. So the body has to draw energy from existing reserves and it is easier for the person concerned to lose weight.

Weight reduction with Orlistat should always be combined with a calorie-reduced diet. Studies have shown that patients can achieve a weight reduction of 5 percent after approximately 12 weeks of taking Orlistat. If this is not the case, the intake should be discontinued as Orlistat does not help all people.

Within a year, people lose up to 10 percent of their body weight. This is slightly better in both cases than a diet that is exclusively calorie-reduced. The exact weight reduction depends on many factors and must be considered very individually.