Before we jump to the side effects of Xenical, it's important to understand how the medication works. This is because all the side effects of Xenical are a result of its working. Xenical is marketed by Roche, while GlaxoSmithKline markets orlistat under the over-the-counter trade name of Alli.
If the cause of the obesity is organic in nature, like hypothyroidism, Xenical is not prescribed in such cases. Moreover, doctors don't prescribe this medication if the patient has a previously identified sensitivity to any of its components. Also it's important to understand that the intake of Xenical must not be at the cost of any other medications that you might be currently on, and also a diet and exercise.
The concept of Xenical
The active ingredient of Xenical is orlistat. It belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors. It's a medication that helps overweight or obese people lose weight. Unlike other medicines of similar nature, Xenical acts locally within the stomach and small intestine and does not get absorbed into the blood stream. It targets specific enzymes known as gastric and pancreatic lipases and inhibits their functionality. As a result they cannot breakdown a portion of the fats that have been consumed by the body. Hence, this fat cannot be used by the body for any purpose and is eliminated by the body in the form of bodily excreta.
The Minor Side Effects
Both the minor and major side effects of Xenical are of a gastrointestinal nature. This is because all action of the medication takes place in the gastrointestinal tract. Headaches, flatulence accompanied by discharge, loose and oily stools (as a result of fat content), and abdominal pain are just some of the side effects of the intake of Xenical. Some other side effects include increased urgency with respect to bowel moments, diarrhea, and hypoglycaemia. The last usually manifests itself in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
There are other minor xenical side effects that are not very common, which include abdominal bloating, also in people who are suffering from type 2 diabetes, infections of the chest and of the urinary tract, irregularity in the menstrual cycle, rectal pain or discomfort, anxiety and faecal incontinence.
At the end of the day, if you are facing persistent discomfort, even if the side effect has been categorized as minor, it's important to seek medical help.
The Major Side Effects
In very rare cases, a patient using Xenical might suffer from some major side effects. There is also a chance that some of these side effects might continue over the long term.
A serious consequence of the intake of Xenical is rectal bleeding. There have also been cases wherein a person has developed pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) as result of Xenical intake. Another major side effect is the inflammation of the diverticula. The diverticula is an outcome of diverticulosis, wherein pouches known as diverticula form on the outside of the colon. Other major side effects include gallstones, blistering of skin, increase of liver enzyme levels, and kidney stones. Kidney stones usually occur in people who are already suffering from a chronic disease of the kidneys. If you are suffering from any of the major side effects, you need to get in touch with your doctor on an immediate basis.
At a general level, there is a very limited chance that people taking Xenical will suffer from major side effects of Xenical. At the other end of the spectrum one must be ready to face the common side effects of Xenical. It's also important to gain awareness of all the side effects and their cure and their levels of severity before one actually begins to take Xenical.