Weight Loss NHS

Any advice about Orlistat?

Hello, I have just been prescribed orlistat by my GP as I weigh 16st 7lb and have a BMI of 39. I suffer from juvenille rheumatoid arthitis and require ankle replacements so cannot exercise much at the moment but need to reduce my weight before they will carry out the replacements. I have tried most diets, but rosemary conley and the nhs freshstart seem to work the best, but I think that was just due to the exercise I was doing at the time. I have tried to stick with the healthy eating and reducing my calories down a bit more (as advised by dietician) but have still carried on putting on a little weight. I was just wondered how you have found orlistat? I have heard you have to eat a certain amount of fat for it to work, but not too much to get the horrible side effects. I have been taking it for 3 days now and fingers crossed no side effects yet. Anyone with any info or tips they can give me?

4 Replies

Hi elmtee,

I'm a little muddled by the "juvenile rheumatoid arthritis" and the "tried most diets" but whatever your age is, skeletal issues and other health issues too will often benefit from you taking control of your eating and exercise/activity habits.

At risk of stating the bloomin' obvious, you are very significantly overweight which is why you doctor has prescribed Orlilstat. I guess it probably came with an information leaflet explaining possible side effects, but you can find out more about it (and indeed most medically prescribed drugs) by using the internet and any reasonably decent search engine.

Increasing your exercise/activity levels is helpful to a weight loss regime as it both encourages your body to burn off calories (which hopefully it wll mainly do from the excess fat you have) and it also helps to re-set some of the hormone production which has adjusted to you being overweight. These are hormones which control things like fat storage, fat burning, feelings of hunger and satiation. Some are re-set by becoming slim/normal weight and some re-set with exercise/incerased activity.

There are lots of forms of exercise that don't put undue stress upon ankles, but still up the heart rate a bit.

My view is that you clearly need to look seriously - notwithstanding prescription medication - at the eating and exercise/activity habits that have caused you to become overweight.

Keeping a detailed food diary - being brutally honest about E V E R Y T H I N G you eat/drink - is likely to give you some seriously helpful insight into why you are overweight and, therefore, what you need to change to a) stop becoming more overweight and b) reduce you body weight/fat percentage and thereby reduce a range of health risks.

However, it is a often quoted phenomenon that people who record their food intake almost always under-report the amount they eat and sometimes very much so. If you do that, the only person you will be having over is yourself.

But the information that the process could provide you with could truly be the key to you achieving your weight loss.

I've lost about 25 kgs over nearly six months and I now no longer have problems with my feet because they no longer have to bear so much weight. I feel like I'm walking around in someone else's body compared to the beginning of the year. A much fitter, slimmer, lighter body that moves around so much more easily. It's well worth the effort.

Oh and six months ago I would have said 'I eat pretty healthily' (and all that jazz) and the truth of the matter was I didn't know what the concept of eating healthily was even about! And as for my previous ideas of portion control ... well, let's not even go there!

Good luck with your weight loss journey.


Hi, Thank you very much for your reply and well done on your weight loss. The arthritis I have is called Juvenille Idiopathic Arthritis, I have had it since I was a child (I am 31 now). My doctors usually encourage me to carry on exercising to keep mobile and try to get the weight down so there is less pressure on my joints, but now they have advised me to rest and not put pressure on my joints because of the damage. I have just found a pool near to me that I can access and have started back swimming, hydrotherapy and aqua aerobics so hopefully that will help loads with the weight loss. I have always been 'big' and I never say I have the best diet because I don't. I don't eat enough fruit and veg, eat too many carbs, have the odd takeaway (around once a month) and portion sizes are an issue, as when I reduce my portion sizes I find myself feeling hungry and then that is when I am tempted by sugary/fatty things. I think its just getting the right balance. I use my fitness pal which is great and my calorie intake is usually around 1500 (I am very honest with it as I am only cheating myself if I don't put everything down) although I did go through a couple of months of not using it as I had just started back at work full time after maternity leave, so it was the last thing on my mind at that point. I have settled into a routine now and putting everything I eat and drink into it again. I do find it hard working out calories etc for homemade meals as I cook most things from scratch as it is also for my 1 year old. I done the NHS freshstart program last year and lost 1 stone in 10 weeks, but it is slowly piling back on. Hopefully with putting everything into my fitness pal again and the help of the orlistat my weight will come down, its just the maintaining it that is the hard bit as my weight has constantly gone up and down by about 3 stone since I was a teenager, which usually coincides with major flare ups :-S


ELmtree, I used orlistat for about 10 months and it helped me lose 4 stone, as long as you are aware it is not a miracle drug...........but it gives you a boost. My advice to you reduce your fat intake, i took mine down to about 50grms a day and had no side effects, people who report side effects are either very unlucky or not following a healthy diet (I go with the second) it does make you a bit windy the first week or so but that soon still stops.

Good Luck


I'm actually taking Xenical. Have seen excellent results - lost 4.4 kg in the first month. I started at 75kg and my aim is to get back to my pre baby weight of 60kg. I exercise four days per week and eat very healthy though probably too much.

Have ordered them from meds-pharmacy.com .. no prescription required and ships really fast.

Good luck !


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