Precautions and Warnings With Orlistat

Precautions and warnings with orlistat should be reviewed with your healthcare provider prior to beginning treatment. This includes telling him or her if you have a history of diabetes, thyroid disorders, or gallbladder problems. You should also be aware of side effects and how they may be avoided. Precautions and warnings with orlistat also apply to people with certain allergies and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Orlistat: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Orlistat (Alli™, Xenical®) if you have:
 
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Orlistat

Precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking orlistat include the following:
 
  • Although rare, cases of liver damage possibly associated with orlistat use have been reported. It is unclear whether these cases were actually caused by orlistat or other factors. Stop taking orlistat and contact your healthcare provider right away if you develop any signs of liver problems, such as:
     
    • Loss of appetite
    • Unusual itching
    • Yellow skin (jaundice) or eyes
    • Dark urine or light-colored stool
    • Upper-right abdominal pain (stomach pain).
  
  • The medication can cause bothersome (and sometimes painful and embarrassing) intestinal-related side effects. In order to avoid these side effects, you should not eat too much fat while taking the drug. If you do experience these orlistat side effects, try reducing your fat intake.
     
  • Your healthcare provider should make sure that your excess weight is not caused by a medical problem (such as an underactive thyroid) before you take orlistat.
     
  • You should take a multivitamin while you are taking orlistat, as the drug can lead to certain vitamin deficiencies.
     
  • Orlistat can interact with a number of different medications (see Drug Interactions With Orlistat).
     
  • If you have diabetes or thyroid problems, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of your weight loss plans with orlistat. As you lose weight, your healthcare provider may need to adjust your dose of diabetes or thyroid medications.
     
  • The medication could cause or worsen gallbladder problems, kidney stones, or pancreatitis. If you have these conditions (or have had them in the past), talk with your healthcare provider before taking orlistat. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience constant, severe abdominal pain, which may be a sign of these problems.
     
  • Orlistat may be misused by people with a history of an eating disorder. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have had an eating disorder in the past.
     
  • Orlistat is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it is definitely not appropriate for use during pregnancy (see Alli and Pregnancy or Xenical and Pregnancy).
     
  • It is not known if orlistat passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Alli and Breastfeeding or Xenical and Breastfeeding).
     
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Orlistat -- Medication for Weight Loss

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