Last reviewed 05/2021

  • indication - 'in conjunction with a mildly hypocaloric diet for the treatment of obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater or equal to 30 kg/m^2, or overweight patients (BMI >= 28 kg/m^2) with associated risk factors'
    • orlistat should be prescribed only as part of an overall plan for managing obesity in adults who meet one of the following criteria (1):
      • a BMI of 28.0 kg/m2 or more with associated risk factors
      • a BMI of 30.0 kg/m2 or more
    • therapy should be continued beyond 3 months only if the person has lost at least 5% of their initial body weight since starting drug treatment
    • the decision to use drug treatment for longer than 12 months (usually for weight maintenance) should be made after discussing potential benefits and limitations with the patient
    • the coprescribing of orlistat with other drugs aimed at weight reduction is not recommended
  • the European Commission has approved an extension to the prescribing licence for orlistat - this has lifted the maximum two year treatment limit and allows orlistat to be prescribed indefinitely where effective for patients who are overweight and obese (2)


  1. NICE (November 2014). Obesity Guidance
  2. Xenical - product announcement. MIMS (March 2004).