Buying weight loss pills over the counter (ALLI) – Orlistat

A patient visits Behealthibe pharmacy and wants to buy Alli (orlistat) over the counter

Orlistat/ Alli transcript

A brief history into Alli (orlistat)

Orlistat is a very popular weight loss pill and aid that works by blocking the enzyme lipase, a protein that breaks down the fat we consume in our diets. This lipase enzyme enables fat to be absorbed and either utilised by the body or stored as body fat in cases of excessive consumption.

By blocking this enzyme lipase, the amount of dietary fat that is absorbed from the intestine is decreased and in turn, excreted from the body, as opposed to being stored as body fat.

Up until 2009, orlistat was only available on prescription in the UK, but following this period orlistat became available over the counter as a pharmacy-only medicine, under the brand name “Alli”. However, in order to purchase Alli (orlistat) 60mg capsules over the counter you are required to fulfil a number of particular criteria, which are verified by a pharmacist through thorough consultation:

What questions can you expect to be asked when purchasing Alli (orlistat) over-the-counter from a pharmacy

Making the choice and taking the step towards using Alli (orlistat) to aid your weight loss journey can be a daunting process, with getting a hold of the medicine being the first hurdle.

Don’t worry, here at Behealthible we want to help take the weight off your shoulders and believe that by equipping you with the relevant knowledge and understanding, which will undoubtedly instil confidence in the pharmacist that is making the sale.

Orlistat poster

We’ve got you covered with the top three questions to expect during the consultation process when purchasing Alli (orlistat) over the counter:

  1. Are you aged 18 years or over?
  2. Do you have a BMI of 28 or over? –
  3. Are you willing to make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes?

It is of paramount importance that if you answer “YES” to the first two questions that you then approach the third question “are you willing to make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes?” with the right frame of mind. If you answer “YES” to this question, know that you’re not only making a commitment to the pharmacist but more importantly a promise to yourself.

Such lifestyle and dietary changes form the foundation around which your weight loss journey should be based. A good way to address and implement these changes is by formulating a plan and a solid routine that you can realistically follow with a fire in your belly.

Weight loss plan when taking orlistat/ Alli

A guide to weight loss with Alli (orlistat)

Choose a date that you would like to start taking Alli (Orlistat)

This will allow you to prepare both mentally and physically for when you begin taking Alli (Orlistat). A few days ahead of your intended start date you need to give your body some time to adjust to your new diet and eating habits, which includes a reduction in your daily calories, in addition to adopting a lower-fat diet.

In this time you should establish a record/ log of the food that you are consuming in each of your three main meals, this gives you clarity and a clear basis upon which changes to your eating habits can be made.

How and when to take Alli (orlistat) 60mg capsules

So, you’re settling into your new diet and are ready to begin taking Alli (orlistat). It is important that you know the optimal way to take Alli (orlistat) capsules, as to ensure the best chances for successful weight loss.

A maximum of three capsules can be taken daily (not all at once), one at breakfast, one at lunch and one at dinner.

Swallow the Alli (orlistat) capsules whole, with a full glass of water. This can be taken just before, during or no later than one hour after your meal.

If any of your meals contain no fat (check food labels for information) or you miss a meal, then make sure to skip your Alli (orlistat) dose for that meal.

How to perfect your diet, to achieve the best results with Alli (orlistat) – The 5 keys

Know and track your calories - Alli (orlistat)

1. Know how may calories you should consume on a daily basis

To start, we need a good understanding of calories and how they work. In short, calories are the amount of energy in an item of food or drink, the energy that our bodies require to keep our organs functioning and ultimately us alive.

When we eat and drink more calories than our bodies require, and are not utilising that energy throughout the day e.g. exercising and even breathing, the leftover and unused calories are then stored as fat, which if continued over time can lead to weight gain.

Look at the table below to estimate how many calories you should consume on a daily basis, based on your weight, gender and activity levels.

How many calories should a woman consume on a daily basis

Women calories

How many calories should a man consume on a daily basis

men calories

What do we mean by low activity and moderate activity

Low activity means that you are doing the bare minimum physical activity per day e.g. walking, climbing stairs, gardening amongst other examples.

Moderate activity – means that you do a considerable amount of physical activity per day e.g. walking 2 miles (three kilometres), gardening for 30 to 45 minutes, or running 1.25 miles (two kilometres) in 15 minutes. All amounting to roughly 150 calories burnt per day:

examples of exercise main
Track the fat in your foods - Alli (orlistat)

2. Know how much fat you should consume on a daily basis

Whilst you are taking Alli (orlistat) it is important that you avoid foods that are made up of more than 30% fat (information can be found on food labels).

The amount of fat that you should consume per meal is outlined in the table below.

How much fat to eat when taking Alli Classroom Header-2
Take your supplements - Alli (orlistat)

3. Make sure to take a daily multivitamin whilst on Alli (orlistat)

As mentioned above orlistat works by blocking your body’s ability to absorb fat from the foods and drink that you consume. Ironically there is a drawback when preventing fat absorption, considering that the vital vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble and hence are also blocked from being absorbed whilst you are taking Orlistat.

Hence, it is vital that you consume a one-a-day multivitamin, either 2 hours before or 2 hours after your first dose of Alli (orlistat).

make sure to exercise - Alli (orlistat)

4. Make sure that you are getting enough exercise per week

As per the NHS adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Try to spread with over the week.

Examples of moderate intensity-exercise include the following:

  • Brisk walking
  • Water aerobics – a type of resistance training done vertically in waist-high water, without swimming. This type of exercise is also really good on the joints.
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Rollerblading

Examples of vigorous intensity exercise include the following examples:

All you need to do is increase the intensity and effort of the moderate-intensity exercise examples

  • Brisk walking
  • Water aerobics – a type of resistance training done vertically in waist-high water, without swimming. This type of exercise is also really good on the joints.
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Rollerblading

Here at Behealthible we strongly suggest that you find a physical activity that you both enjoy and can progress in, and to not view exercise as a chore but rather an opportunity to better yourself.

Measure your weight - Alli (orlistat)

Regular weight measurement whilst taking Alli (orlistat)

Make sure to keep a record of your weight loss. The best way to record your weight is by stepping on the scale first thing in the morning, by doing so the scale doesn’t take into account the weight of water retention and also allows your body adequate time to digest and process the food that would otherwise sit in your stomach and add to the weight total.


A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, but here at Behealthible we believe in getting a running start. If you have any other question related to Alli (orlistat) or just need some motivation, feel free to leave us a comment and subscribe for updates and more amazing content and above all Behealthible.