Does OTC diet pill Alli live up to its name?

The first and only over-the-counter product for weight loss approved by the Food and Drug Administration will be available Friday, June 15.

Orlistat, known by the brand name Alli, works by decreasing the amount of fat absorbed by the body. It is the OTC version of Xenical, a prescription weight loss pill. The good news: Orlistat has been tested and the prescription version has been used since 1999.

Last fall Dr. James Anderson, head of the UK College of Medicine Metabolic Research Group, and his colleagues examined the effects of OTC strength (60 mg) orlistat on mildly to moderately overweight individuals. The study was the first of its kind. Previously, the drug’s effects had only been studied in obese individuals. Study participants took either orlistat or a placebo three times daily with meals for 16 weeks. Results of that study showed those taking OTC-strength orlistat did lose more weight than those taking the placebo.

“Our research showed that people taking orlistat and following low-fat diets lost almost five percent of their initial body weight, about seven to15 pounds, over four months,” Anderson said. “While two to four pounds a month isn’t dramatic, steady weight loss of this amount can have major health benefits. For example, the reduction in LDL-cholesterol, the bad-guy cholesterol, of 10 percent can reduce risk of heart attack by 20 percent.”

Any successful dieter knows that long-term weight loss is about lifestyle changes not quick fixes. While taking Alli may help you lose weight, it won’t do all of the work for you. Anderson stresses a healthy diet and exercise plan are absolutely necessary to lose the weight and keep it off.

“This is the first over-the-counter medicine that has proven effectiveness. It is my hope that people will take one capsule before each regular meal, breakfast, lunch, and supper, and alter their fat and calorie intake,” Anderson said. “If they commit to exercise six days a week, most people can lose weight steadily. All of us are in this for the long haul and need to keep up healthy behaviors, not for days or weeks, but for months and years. Doing regular physical activity and making good food choices will help us be trimmer and give us more energy.”

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.

71 thoughts on “Does OTC diet pill Alli live up to its name?”

  1. I have tried Alli and it did work but I got some bad gas etc, I am looking forward to perhaps being able to try Lorcaserin if it is approved that is.

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  7. Not sure whether Alli is really worth the money or not. I’ve been following the Slimming World diet for 6 months and lost nearly 4 stone. I can lose 3lb some weeks and never be hungry – it’s worth checking out. It’s a low-ish fat plan so I thought I’d try Alli to ‘boost’ my weight loss but put on a pound in week one believe it or not! If you’re eating low enough fat to not trigger the side effects (I haven’t) then I do wonder about the point of Alli. If you use it to make up for unhealthy eating, you pay for it – but if you’re eating healthily anyway – you don’t really need it. I’m wishing I’d saved my £30. People shouldn’t be using it to counteract a binge – it won’t work, which is why some are saying that they put the weight back on when stopping Alli. I’m surprised that people taking it aren’t aware of side effects – you really should be reading the leaflet that comes with the tablets.

  8. ive just started takin alli, 1st day 2day!
    i done lots of research on it before starting the pills!
    hopefully, following there plans, doin so walkin, weights and toning i will see good results!!

  9. I have been taking alli tablets and reducing fat and calorie intake quite drastically down to 700 calories a day and taking alli 3 times a day, I have just wieghed myself I was 11st 11lb I am now 11st 2lb, I have never lost this much wieght on any diet which leads me to believe alli’s working, I also have’nt had any of the nasty side effects either probebly the complete oposite only had 1 poo in a week which had no oil in it at all which I thought was strange good luck all you dieters!

  10. Okay, I’m going to be candid without being gross. I take Alli and it’s been great. There are times when I’m in a situation where I can’t avoid eating more fat than I want, and yes if you do that, you can have some leakage. If I know I’m going to an event where I may eat a little more fat, I put a Poise pad in my underwear just to be in the safe side. They are really used for urinary incontinence, but it will save you some embarrassment until you can get to a bathroom. These are not large like depends, they just look like an oversized maxi pad. You can’t see them under clothing and it just a little piece of mind because the Alli does work better than any other diet pill I have taken.

  11. i have taken alli for about 2 months now and, although i have experienced the dreaded oil poopies, they are not so annoying as to cause me to discontinue the medication. i have never shat myself–whether at home or in public–and dont expect to ever have that exciting experience, not even when i have had a very high fat meal. i would have to say that the most important aspect of dealing with the after effects of alli is to have copious amnts of commet and a stiff bristled toilet brush on hand available after each episode of unfortunate oil poopy. it does tend to leave an orange ring around the toilet, but happily, none of my knickers have been harmed in any way.

  12. How much fat is blocked per pill of Alli? Am i correct to say that if one meal contains 15 grams of fat, one Alli pill will block 30% of it, which works out to be 4.5 grams blocked?

  13. It hasnt been a week yet. I didnt even know about the LESS FAT INTAKE until i read this. Thank God I havent been eating much LOL.
    I have not been spotting, today was the first day i saw the oily stuff in my stool and i was freaked out, but thank god its normal!

    I will let you all know what it does in a month

  14. I agree to comment id: 33173.

    I also believe that some people here will not experience complete success. Seems they take the pill only when it’s convenient or when they can **** themselves in private!!! :S
    This is the wrong way to think!

    You need to seriously adjust the way you eat. This way the pill can be taken, as recommended, 3 times a day.
    Oil may still appear in your stool but with a meal under 15 grams of fat, you SHOULD NOT have uncontrollable diarrhea!
    If you are shitting your pants after every meal…you need to think long and hard about what you are putting in your mouth!

    I’ve been on Alli for about 30 days now and haven’t experience a single embarrasing poopy pants accident!
    I’ve lost 2 lbs so far and have been eating better and exercising 3 days a week.
    It’s not only the weight loss that has me excited; it’s understanding how to eat right and live healthier!

    Good luck to all out there trying this and please keep my advice in mind.
    If you are concerned about diarrhea after a fatty meal – don’t avoid the pill, avoid the fatty meal!!!

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