How Does Xenical Work?

Xenical® (orlistat) is a prescription weight loss medication approved for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater if you also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. It comes in capsule form and is taken by mouth with each fat-containing meal, up to three times per day.
Many people may wonder, "How does it work?" Xenical works by decreasing the absorption of fat from your diet. The stomach and intestines have enzymes (called lipases) that break down fat into smaller molecules which are then absorbed from your digestive tract. Xenical binds to lipases and inhibits their activity, helping to decrease fat absorption.
The drug does not have any effect on carbohydrates or protein.
(Click Xenical Uses for more information, including whether this drug can be used in children and whether it can be used for "off-label" purposes.)
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