alli - frequently asked questions

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Information & Advice

alli - frequently asked questions

If you are thinking about taking alli, you may have many questions you would like answering. Read a selection of the most frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about the alli weight loss programme here.

Published March 2009

alli is designed to be used with the alli weight loss programme, to help people lose excess weight. alli (orlistat 60mg) is the first non-prescription diet to be granted a licence by the European Commission - this means that alli can now be introduced over-the-counter to adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 or above.

As the UK's leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, Boots aims to bring you expert advice and information about new and existing health products. If you are considering taking the alli weight loss aid, you probably have lots of questions, the answers to which might aid your decision as to whether alli could help you discover a healthier, new you.

In this section, we bring you the most frequently asked questions about alli weight loss.

Frequently asked questions about alli

Q: What does alli do?

If you commit to a healthy lifestyle and follow a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet, alli can reward your hard work with 50% more weight loss. So for every 2 lb you lose by your own efforts, alli can help you lose 1lb more. They work in your digestive system to prevent some of the fat in your meals from being digested and absorbed. The unabsorbed fat passes naturally out of your body in your stools.

Q: Who can take the alli?

alli is an effective weight loss aid but it's not for everyone. It can be taken by overweight adults aged 18 or more with a BMI of 28 or over who are willing to adopt a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet and to make the necessary adjustments to their lifestyle to succeed with alli.alli is not suitable for those:Taking ciclosporin (used after organ transplants, for severe rheumatoid arthritis and some severe skin conditions.) Taking warfarin or other medicines used to thin the blood. Who are allergic (hypersensitive) to orlistat or any of the ingredients of alli. Who have cholestatis (condition where the flow of the bile from the liver is blocked.) Who have problems absorbing food (chronic malabsorbption syndrome) diagnosed by a doctor. Pregnant or breast-feeding women. In addition to the labelled contraindictions, people who are taking diabetes medication or amiodarone for heart rhythm problems should consult a doctor before taking alli. This is because it may be necessary to adjust the dose of their medication. While taking alli, users of medicines of high blood pressure or high cholesterol should speak to a doctor or pharmacist. This is because it may be necessary to adjust the dose of their medication. The oral contraceptive pill may be less effective if you get severe diarrhoea, so use an extra method of contraception if this happens. It is important to read the label before taking alli.

Q: For how long can I take alli?

Treatment should not exceed six months. If you do not lose weight after taking alli for 12 weeks, see your pharmacist or doctor for advice. You may need to stop taking alli. You should maintain your healthy eating and lifestyle changes after you stop alli.

Q: How much do I take a day?

The dose is a maximum of 3 a day.

Q: When should I take alli?

Take just before or during a meal, or up to one hour after the meal. If you are eating a meal that does not contain fat, do not take alli.

Q: If I eat a high fat meal should I take two alli?

No. You should never take more than the recommended dose of a medicine. Take one at mealtimes, three times a day. This usually means one alli at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make every effort to avoid high-fat meals while on the alli programme. Taking alli with a meal containing more fat than your recommended target, may increase the chances of diet-related treatment effects.

Q: Can I take two alli with a meal to help me lose weight more quickly?

No. You should never take more than the recommended dose of a medicine. Take one alli at mealtimes, three times a day. This usually means one alli at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Q: I don't like swallowing tablets or capsules. Can I open and sprinkle the contents on my food?

No. You should swallow whole with water.

Q: Should I take alli if I know I'm going to eat a 'high-fat' meal?

If you have a special occasion and know you are going to be eating a high-fat meal, do not take with that meal. Taking alli with a meal containing more fat than your recommended target, may increase the chances of diet-related treatment effects.

However, it's important you make every effort to avoid high fat meals or snacks while on the alli weight loss programme.

Q: What if I miss taking alli?

If you forget to take alli and more than an hour has passed since your meal, do not take another one. Just wait until your next meal and take alli then. Never take two alli at the same time.

Q: What if I eat more than three meals a day. Should I still take alli with each meal?

No, take no more than 3 per day. Just choose 3 meals that contain fat and take alli with those meals.

If you are eating more than 3 meals a day, you may need to check you are not exceeding your daily calorie target.

Q: If alli only works on the fat in my food, how do I lose the fat in my body?

As you eat fewer calories on a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet - and use alli to prevent absorption of some of the fat you eat - your body will automatically tap into its fat stores and use them for the energy it needs. This leads to weight loss as your body burns its fat.

Q: What happens if alli is taken with a fat-free meal?

Nothing, because there's no fat for alli to work on. Don't take alli if you're going to eat a meal that doesn't contain fat.

Q: How long does alli remain in my body?

Since the time it takes people to digest food varies, the active ingredient in alli can remain in your body for up to 48 to 72 hours, mainly because the time taken for food to pass through the digestive system varies from person to person. However, it only affects the fat absorption of meals that are eaten within a short time of taking alli. Only a very small amount of orlistat is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Q: Why should I take a multivitamin when I'm taking alli?

You should take a multivitamin every day because alli can lower the levels of some fat-soluable vitamins absorbed by your body. The multivitamins should contain vitamins A, D, E and K. You should take the multivitamin at bedtime, when you will not be taking an alli diet pill, to help ensure that the vitamins are absorbed.

Q: Why should I take the multivitamin at bedtime?

If you take the multivitamin with a meal, at the same time that you take alli, then this could cause some of those vitamins to be lost. So it's best to take the multivitamin at a time when you won't be taking alli, such as bedtime.

Q: What sizes do the alli packs come in?

alli is available in packs of 42, 84 and 120.

We hope this answers all your queries about alli diet pills. There are further Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about alli within the pages of, to help you reach a decision about whether the alli weight loss programme is suitable for your needs.

If you still have questions about alli or are not sure if alli is suitable for you, please pop into your local Boots and talk to the pharmacist - they will be happy to help.

Read more like this:
Your diet whilst taking alli FAQ
The results of taking alli diet pills FAQ
Obesity and BMI FAQ
Exercise whilst taking alli FAQ
Using alli with other medicines / medical conditions FAQ
Diet-related treatment effects FAQ
Ingredients in alli FAQalli is on its way
alli – an introduction to a new weight loss aid
alli weight loss aid – helping adults lose weight
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