Alli (Orlistat) and/or alternatives
No Generic Alternative.
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General Information On Alli
Alli is used for promoting weight loss in overweight people. It is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. Doctors and pharmacists recommend this OTC drug along with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise for weight management in people who are at increased risk to obesity-related diseases, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and heart disease.
Alli is not an appetite suppressant; instead, it works by reducing the amount of fat that your body absorbs. Alli attaches itself to gastrointestinal lipase, an enzyme that plays an important role in breaking down fats, and inhibits its action. Fats are absorbed into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract only after they are broken down into small, soluble molecules. Alli prevents gastrointestinal lipase from functioning normally. As a result, less fat is absorbed by your body. Alli prevents as much as 30% of the fat you consume from being absorbed into the GI tract.
The drug is available in the form of oral tablets of Alli 60mg strength. The active ingredient in Alli is Orlistat—which is also the generic name of this drug. This OTC diet pill contains the following inactive ingredients: edible ink, FD&C Blue No. 2, iron dioxide, povidone, gelatin, sodium lauryl sulfate, titanium dioxide, sodium starch glycolate, and talc.
Side Effects for Alli
This diet pill may cause certain side effects in some people. Before using the drug, read the patient information leaflet that you receive when you buy Alli. This small booklet contains the complete list of side effects for Alli and other useful information.
The common side effects of Alli include: fatty or oily stools, orange colored oil in the stools, uncontrollable bowel movements, diarrhea, stomach pain, rectal pain, oily spotting in the undergarments, or mild stomach pain. These side effects usually occur during the first few days and are mild in nature.
You may also experience the following side effects while taking Alli: stuffy nose, cough, sneezing, headache, fever, sore throat, back pain, problems with the gums or teeth, or chills.
Seek immediate medical attention if you show signs of hypersensitivity (hives, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, or face, wheezing, or shortness of breath) after taking Orlistat or if you experience the following serious side effects: fast heart rate, severe pain the upper stomach that spreads to your back, nausea, or vomiting.
You should not buy Alli if you have chronic malabsorption syndrome, gallbladder problems, or if you have a known allergy to any of the ingredients used in the drug.
Before using Alli, inform your doctor about your medical history, especially if you have/have had liver disease, diabetes, an underactive thyroid, eating disorder (such as bulimia or anorexia), or pancreatitis.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should use Alli only after their doctor advises them to do so. This over-the-counter drug is meant for use only by overweight adults aged 18 years or above.
You should use Alli exactly as prescribed by your doctor or as directed on the label. You should not take the drug more than 3 times a day.
Some drugs may interact with this OTC diet pill. Consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking Alli, especially if you are taking any of the following drugs: blood thinners, digoxin, cyclosporine, levothyroxine, or diabetes medicines.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.