Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Diabetes: If you have type 2 diabetes and are taking orlistat in combination with other diabetes medications, you may be more at risk of experiencing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you experience hypoglycemia symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, shakiness, hunger, or confusion, contact your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your medication(s). You should continue to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.
Fat intake: It is very important to follow recommended dietary guidelines while taking orlistat. The risk of side effects associated with the stomach (such as gas with discharge or oily spotting of underclothes) increases when orlistat is taken with a high-fat diet. Your daily intake of fat should be distributed over three main meals and should not be more than 30% of the total calories. Discuss with your doctor or dietitian if you have any concerns or questions regarding how to manage your diet.
Gastrointestinal problems: If you have bowel or rectal problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Kidney stones: If you have a history of kidney stones, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver: There have been rare reports of severe liver injury in people taking orlistat. If you experience any symptoms such as loss of appetite, yellow skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-coloured stools, or pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, contact your doctor immediately.
Seizures: Orlistat may interact with seizure medications. If you have a history of seizures, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Thyroid: If you have hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels), your doctor should closely monitor your condition while you are taking orlistat, as it may affect thyroid levels.
Vitamins: Orlistat may reduce the absorption of beta-carotene and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking a multivitamin supplement. If you are already on a multivitamin, take it at least 2 hours before or after taking orlistat, or take it at bedtime.
Pregnancy: Orlistat has not been adequately studied in pregnant women. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if orlistat passes into breast milk. This medication should not be used by nursing mothers unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of orlistat have not been established for use in children less than 12 years of age.