Side Effects and Precautions for Xenical

What are the side effects of Xenical?

Very common side effects of Xenical, especially at the beginning of taking Xenical or after eating a meal high in fat, may include the following, which occurred in greater than 1/10 people in clinical trials:

  • Headaches
  • Upper respiratory infections, such as colds (with symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, congested nose, and runny nose) and the flu (with symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, aches in the body, or symptoms of flu)
  • Stomach or abdominal pain / discomfort
  • Brown or orange-coloured fatty or oily stools that may have an odour
  • Oily discharge from the rectum
  • Gas (wind), also called flatulence
  • Urgency in bowel movements
  • Greater frequency of bowel movements,
  • Loose or wet stools or diarrhoea that may have an odour
  • Greater frequency of bowel movements
  • Low level of sugar in the blood (hypoglycemia)

Common side effects of Xenical, especially in the beginning of taking Xenical or after eating a meal high in fat, may include the following. The gastrointestinal symptoms occurred in less than 1/10 to 1/100 people in clinical trials:

  • Loss of control of bowel movements occurred
  • Pain in the rectum
  • Loose or wet stools
  • Diarrhoea that may have an odour
  • Distension (swelling) of the abdomen
  • Problems with the teeth or gums
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Fatigue
  • Irregularity in menstruation
  • Anxiety
  • Stools that are clay in colour
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in the bladder
  • Pain in the back or side
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Feeling of not being well
  • Sweating
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble with moving

Uncommon side effects of Xenical may include:

  • Indigestion
  • Mild rash of the skin
  • Pain in the back
  • Itching in the vagina or genital region
  • Discharge that is thick and white and may have odour from the vagina
  • Pain during intercourse

If any of the common or uncommon side effects continue or get worse, call your doctor.

If any of the following rare side effects of Xenical occur, call your doctor immediately:

  • An allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; hives; redness of the skin; blisters; swelling of face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, or feet; or trouble swallowing). Call for emergency assistance if an allergic reaction occurs.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Contagious diarrhoea
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Persistent light-coloured stools
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Severe pain in the stomach or abdomen, especially if it spreads to the back
  • Decrease or stopping of urination
  • Blood in the urine or cloudy urine
  • Pain during urination
  • Dark urine
  • Severe lower back pain
  • Drowsiness, confusion, changes in mood, or greater thirst
  • Swelling or weight gain
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Rapid rate of the heart
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Loss in hearing
  • Earache
  • Pain or stiffness in the joints
  • Itching

Although the frequency of the following side effects is not known, call your doctor if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Inflammation of the intestines
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Blurring of vision
  • Cold sweats
  • Coma (someone else should call emergency services immediately if a coma occurs)
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Cool, pale skin
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Dryness of the skin and hair
  • Feeling cold
  • Loss of hair
  • Increased hunger
  • Cramps or stiffness of the muscles
  • Nightmares
  • Seizures (call your doctor or emergency services immediately if seizures occur)
  • Hepatitis
  • Weight gain
  • Change in certain laboratory measurements

What are the precautions for Xenical?

If you have any of the following conditions, do not take Xenical:

  • Allergic reaction to orlistat or any of the inactive ingredientsin Xenical
  • Pregnancy or suspected pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding an infant
  • Problems with gallbladder
  • Chronic malabsorption syndrome, which means your body cannot absorb foods correctly

If you have any of the following conditions, ask your doctor whether Xenical is right for you:

  • Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM, also called type 2 diabetes)
  • Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes
  • High levels of cholesterol in the blood
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (called pancreatitis)
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal rhythm of the heart
  • Metabolic syndrome, a combination of type 2 diabetes, high levels of cholesterol, and high blood pressure
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Thyroid that is underactive
  • Seizures
  • Kidney stones
  • Problems with the liver
  • Anorexia (thinking you are overweight when you are not and avoiding food because of that perception)
  • Bulimia (vomiting in order to lose weight)

Xenical can block the absorption of dietary, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). So, a daily multivitamin supplement is suggested. Every day the multivitamin should be taken at least two hours before or two hours after taking Xenical, or at bedtime.

What are the interactions with other medications?

Let your doctor and pharmacist know what other prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), or herbal medications you take. As Xenical may interact with some medications, a different dosage of the medications or medical monitoring may be required. Examples of medications that Xenical interacts with are:2, 4,-6

  • Cyclosporine (called Neoral or Sandimmune), which should be taken at least two hours prior to or after taking Xenical
  • Some therapies for HIV and AIDS
  • Acarbose
  • Paricalcitol
  • Propafenone
  • Levothyroxine, a medication for low thyroid hormone that should be taken at least 4 hours prior to or after taking Xenical
  • Insulin or oral medications for diabetes
  • Amiodarone, a medication for irregular heartbeats
  • Medications that lower levels of fat in the blood
  • Some anticonvulsant medications for epilepsy (seizures)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin), a medication taken to prevent blood clots
  • Oral contraceptives (if diarrhoea occurs due to Xenical you should use an additional method of contraception, such as condoms
  • Other prescription or OTC weight loss medications