How Long Does Orlistat Take To Work?

how long does Orlistat take to work

Orlistat is a drug designed to help with weight loss.

People want to lose weight for many reasons. Health, confidence, fitness – you name it.

In 1993, 15% of adults were classed as obese. This had increased to 26% by 2016.

It’s a very common issue.

You can take orlistat to help with the weight loss process if your BMI is over 28. How long does Orlistat take to work? Well, it gets to work in a few days but how quickly you see results depends on a number of factors.


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How does orlistat work?

Orlistat works by blocking enzymes in your gut that digest fat. Nearly a third of the fat you consume will be blocked by orlistat. This fat is not absorbed into your body and is passed out when you do a number two…


How often should I take it?

Take one capsule with water before, during or up to one hour after a meal. Don’t take more than three capsules per day. You don’t need to take a capsule if you miss a meal or a meal doesn’t contain fat.

You should only continue to use orlistat if you’ve lost 5% of your body weight in three months.


How long does orlistat take to work?

It’s not a magic pill but orlistat gets to work in a day or how. However, the weight loss will be gradual depending on your diet and level of exercise.

If you diet is unhealthy and you don’t get any exercise, the effects of orlistat will be limited.

If you’re trying to lose weight, a safe aim is between 1-2 pounds per week. Losing too much too quickly can be unsafe.


How should I prepare to lose weight?

Plan ahead by choosing your start date. Then choose a day to start taking the capsules. You should start a reduced calorie, lower fat diet a few days before starting orlistat. This gives your body time to adjust to your new eating habits.

You should also pick up a notebook to keep a record of what you are eating. This food diary helps you stay aware of what and how much you eat and gives you the basis to make changes.

Next decide on your weight loss goal. Set a target weight – a realistic goal is to lose 5-10% of your starting weight. Try to lose weight at a steady rate each week.

Finally, set two daily goals: calories and fat.


How can I reduce my fat intake?

There are a number of ways to reduce your fat intake:
● Use low fat spreads instead of butter
● Choose lean cuts of meat and trim the visible fat
● Avoid skin on chicken and crackling on pork
● Grill, poach, bake or microwave instead of frying
● Choose low fat dairy food like semi-skimmed milk or low-calorie yoghurts


Fibre is also needed to help maintain a healthy digestive system. To increase your fibre intake:
● Eat high-fibre cereals such as Weetabix or Shreddies
● Choose wholemeal bread, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice
● Add peas, beans and lentils to your diet


You should also aim to have five or more portions of fruit or vegetables every day.

This goes without staying – cut down on sugary and fatty foods. Try tea without sugar, sugar-free cordials and diet fizzy drinks.

Some people allow themselves a cheat meal at this weekend. This helps you get through the week because you know you have something to look forward to!



Orlistat can be used to help with weight loss if your BMI is over 28. Orlistat gets to work quickly but how soon you see results depends on your diet and exercise levels.



● WHO Consultation on Obesity (1999: Geneva, Switzerland) Obesity:
preventing and managing the global epidemic: report of a WHO consultation. (WHO technical report series; 894).
● Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet – England, 2018, NHS digital
● Your guide to healthy eating whilst taking Orlistat, Departments of Nutrition and Dietetics Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


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