What are the Differences Between Alli and Xenical?

What are the Differences Between Alli and Xenical?

Mar 20, 2021

For those who are trying to lose weight, many who have started to buy the FDA-approved drug pill Alli will run into several names and may be wondering what is Xenical and what is Orlistat, so to make things easier, here is a good explanation of what they are.

Orlistat is a drug that was marked under the trade name Xenical created by Roche. The over the counter version is known as Alli distributed by GlaxoSmithKline. The other name that it’s known as is tetrahydrolipstatin which are used to treat obesity. But the main differences between Alli and Xenical is that one is over-the-counter and one is prescription-based and the single main difference between the two is that Xenical is 120mg and Alli is 60 mg but both are Orlistat.

Because of the weak sales of Xenical, GlaxoSmithKline purchased the rights to market the drug in 2005 and put out an over-the-counter version that would be deemed safe and effective. So, Alli is essentially Xenical but half the strength and has become a big seller.

These drugs are essentially the same product that are used to prevent the absorption of fats from the human diet and are used to reduce caloric intake.

The popular dietary drug inhibits the pancreas enzyme known as lipase from breaking down triglycerides inside the intestine. Without the enzyme, the triglycerides are prevented from being hydrolyzed into absorbable free fatty acids. So, only trace amounts of the Orlistat are absorbed and the lipase is inhibited and eliminated through a bowel movement.

Why is the drug so popular? Well, the primary reason for all hype is that drug which was developed back in the 70′s have had so many studies. And recent studies have shown that people have lost weight and also a report has shown a 37% reduction in the incidence of type-2 diabetes.

Also, a positive is that there are no harmful side effects with this drug compared to other dietary drugs which have had hardly any lengthy research done.

Of course, there are still side effects and many doctors have recommended that people take the drug during a day off to give it a try. GlaxoSmithKline is very insistent by including several booklets in their Alli sets about telling people that there are side effects if they stray away from their low fat diet and even going as far to having guides of foods that people should eat.

The primary side effects to using these dietary drugs are:

  • Steatorrhea – Oily and loose stools
  • Fecal Incontinence – The urge to have a bowel movement frequently
  • Flatulence – Passing gas

Despite being safe, the consumer advocacy organization known as Public Citizen has cited the failures of orlistat and that studies on animals revealed links of orlistat and pre-cancerous changes in the colon (large intestine) and also an increased rate of breast cancer.

So, whether or not Alli or Xenical is for you, definitely do your research and contact your physician.