Compliance, behavior change, and weight loss with orlistat in an over-the-counter setting

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Mar;16(3):623-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.96. Epub 2008 Jan 24.


Objective: The study was conducted to provide information on how consumers would use orlistat 60 mg, especially in terms of product dosing, in a setting without physician supervision.

Methods and procedures: A 3-month, open-label, naturalistic study was conducted in an over-the-counter (OTC) setting in 18 pharmacies. Consumers >/=18 years were allowed to purchase orlistat packages containing a bottle of orlistat 60 mg plus educational materials, which provided lifestyle information and tools to encourage successful weight loss. Data were collected at pharmacy visits and during telephone interviews at 14, 30, 60, and 90 days after enrollment.

Results: A total of 237 subjects purchased and used the product, and completed at least one interview. Most subjects followed the dosing directions and took two to three capsules per day with meals throughout the study. The majority of subjects took a daily multivitamin, as directed. Approximately, 80% of subjects used the educational materials and found them useful or very useful. Over the study duration, most subjects reported following a diet and 51% of subjects reported more frequent or longer exercise than at enrollment. Approximately, 80% of subjects indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the weight loss achieved; measured and self-reported relative median weight loss was approximately 5% after > or =60 days of using orlistat. Most common adverse events were gastrointestinal (GI), and majority of subjects did not interrupt or discontinue orlistat due to these GI events.

Discussion: These results demonstrate that orlistat 60 mg can be used appropriately and safely and with high consumer satisfaction without physician supervision or dietary counseling. Collectively, results indicate that orlistat 60 mg is an appropriate weight loss therapy in the OTC environment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Labeling
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Lactones / administration & dosage
  • Lactones / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonprescription Drugs / administration & dosage
  • Nonprescription Drugs / adverse effects
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Orlistat
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use
  • Weight Loss*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Lactones
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Vitamins
  • Orlistat