What is Alli?
Alli capsules are a medication you take to help you steadily and safely lose weight when combined with a balanced diet and active lifestyle. The active ingredient in Alli is Orlistat, which works by attaching itself to your body’s natural enzymes that break down fats. By doing so, it prevents fat from being absorbed by your body, stopping you from gaining additional weight from them. Alli stops you from absorbing around 25% of the fat you eat. This fat that is not absorbed will be passed as waste in your stools.
How does Alli work?
Alli capsules work by stopping your body from absorbing around 25% of the fat in your food. It does this by binding to the enzymes that naturally break down fats in your body. This stops those fats from being absorbed; instead, they are passed naturally as waste.
Alli capsules do not stop you from absorbing calories from carbohydrates or proteins. So if you replace the calories from the fat with calories from these food groups, you may not notice the medication’s effects. You should try to maintain a diet low in carbohydrates and fats while taking Alli.
How long does Alli last?
After taking an Alli capsule, it will stay in your digestive system for 6 hours. After stopping taking Alli, it will remain in your system for up to 72 hours.
How long does Alli take to work?
Alli capsules start working straight away with every meal when taken as prescribed. However, that doesn’t mean you will start to see results instantly. Alli is used to lose weight gradually and safely, and you should expect to lose 5% of your body weight every 3 months. This means if you’re 100kg, you should expect to lose 5kg in 3 months while taking this medication.
How effective is Alli?
Studies have shown that, on average, people who take Alli lose 2.5kg more over a year-long period than people who do not. However, taking Alli without combining it with a healthy diet and active lifestyle does not result in the same weight loss.
This shows that Alli is an effective weight loss medication, but only when taken as prescribed and combined with diet and exercise.
Some studies have shown that Alli may also help improve blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood lipid levels and may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
How to take Alli
You should take 1 Alli capsule within an hour of eating a meal that contains fat up to 3 times a day. If you do not eat a meal that contains fat, you do not need to take the pill.
The manufacturer of Alli recommends eating around 15 grams of fat in each meal. If you take Alli with a meal higher in fats, you are more likely to feel digestive side effects than with a meal with fewer.
How much Alli to take (dosage)
The recommended dose of Alli is a 60-milligram capsule. However, you should only ever take the dosage your pharmacist or doctor has recommended.
How long do I need to take Alli for?
You will need to take Alli for at least 1-3 months to notice the full effects of the medication. However, depending on your results, you may want to continue using Alli for a longer period or try an alternative treatment.
With Alli, you are expected to lose weight at a gradual pace, which means you will need to take the medication for some time while also making changes to your diet and lifestyle. This is to help you maintain your weight loss and continue to lose weight after your treatment has finished.
If you have not lost any weight within 3 months of taking Alli, you should stop taking it. You shouldn’t take Alli for more than 6 months in total.
Where can I buy Alli?
You can buy Alli from most pharmacies without a prescription. However, this will be under the supervision of a pharmacist. If they do not think the medication is suitable or safe for you to take, they can choose not to provide it.
Can I buy Alli online?
You can purchase Alli online without a prescription from an online doctor like Superdrug Online Doctor. All you need to do is:
- Answer a few short questions about your health
- A doctor reviews your request and prescribes if suitable
- We deliver directly to you in discreet packaging, or you can collect your medication from your nearest pharmacy in as little as 2 hours.
The questions we ask will be the same questions a pharmacist would ask you before providing this treatment. This is to make sure it’s safe and suitable for you.
Can I get Alli over the counter?
Alli is a non prescription medication, which means you can buy it over the counter without getting a prescription from a doctor. However, you will have to answer a few questions for the pharmacist to make sure it’s the right medication for you.
Can I get Alli on the NHS?
Alli side effects
Like all medications, Alli can cause side effects. Most of these side effects are caused by the undigested fats passing through your system. While Alli side effects can be uncomfortable, they tend to improve over time.
Most common Alli side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Stomach pain
- Oily discharge from the anus
- Gas with oily anal discharge
- Oily stools
- More frequent bowel movements
- Urgent bowel movements
Other possible side effects include:
- Back pain
- Common cold symptoms
- Menstrual changes
You should stop taking Alli immediately and speak to your doctor if you:
- develop severe itching,
- get yellowing eyes or skin
- get dark urine
- lose your appetite
- get severe or continuous abdominal pain (this may indicate a serious medical condition)
Alli side effects are often caused by what you eat. These side effects can be made worse by eating very high fat meals. By eating meals with reduced fat (15g or under, according to the manufacturer), you may be able to lessen side effects, making managing them easier. Alli side effects also improve the longer you’re taking the medication.
What to do if you get Alli side effects
If you do get side effects from Alli and they are manageable, you may want to continue taking the medication to see if they improve, as they often do over time. You can also try reducing your fat intake as this can worsen symptoms.
If you are experiencing side effects from Alli that are causing too much discomfort or are unmanageable, you should stop taking Alli and speak to your doctor. They may recommend an alternative treatment.
If you get side effects indicating an allergic reaction, you should immediately stop taking the medication and speak to your doctor. You should do this right away. Do not continue taking Alli if you are experiencing these side effects.
- are taking cyclosporine
- have had an organ transplant (it can interfere with medications that stop organ rejection)
- have been diagnosed with problems absorbing food
- are allergic to any of its ingredients
- are not overweight
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- are under 18 years old
- have gallbladder problems
- have kidney stones
There are alternative medications available to Alli that work in different ways, get different results and are suitable for different people. Superdrug Online Doctor can provide the following alternative weight loss treatments:
If you’re unsure which weight loss medication is right for you, you should speak to your doctor for advice.
Alli Vs Xenical
Xenical is a branded medication that works the same way as Alli by stopping your body from absorbing fat from each meal. The dose of Xenical is 120mg and works to stop your body from absorbing about 1 third of the fat from each meal. The dose of Alli is 60mg and stops your body from absorbing about 1 quarter of fat from being digested.
Xenical is not available over the counter and requires a prescription from a doctor before you can take it. This is because you must reach certain criteria before you can take Xenical to make sure it’s safe and suitable for you.
Alli Vs Orlistat
Orlistat is a generic medication that is made up of the same active ingredient as Alli. This means it works in exactly the same way as Alli by stopping your body from absorbing fat from meals. Orlistat comes in a higher dose, just like Xenical, and works to stop your body from absorbing about 1 third of the fat from meals, but you need a prescription in order to get it. Alli is available over the counter but only stops your body from absorbing about 1 quarter of the fat from meals.
Alli Vs Saxenda
Saxenda is a prescription weight loss injection you take daily to reduce your appetite. It helps you lose weight by stopping you from feeling hungry, while Alli helps you lose weight by reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs from food.
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (2022) Alli [Accessed September 2022]
- Alli Weight Loss Aid (2022) https://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/ [Accessed September 2022]
- Current Long-Term Pharmacotherapies for the Management of Obesity (2020) National Library of Medicine [Accessed September 2022]
- Benefit-risk assessment of orlistat in the treatment of obesity (2014) National Library of Medicine [Accessed September 2022]
- XENical in the Prevention of Diabetes in Obese Subjects (XENDOS) Study: A randomized study of orlistat as an adjunct to lifestyle changes for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in obese patients (2004) American Diabetes Association [Accessed September 2022]
- Alli weight-loss pill: Does it work? (2022) MayoClinic [Accessed September 2022]
- Do Alli Weight Loss Pills (Orlistat) Work? An Evidence-Based Review (2022) Healthline [Accessed September 2022]