Valentine's offers

Save 15% on consultations with code 15SV23
Save 20% on HPV consultations with code 20SV23
Save 20%
on your first ED or hair loss subscription instalment, with the code 5SV23. T&Cs apply

On this page

    Orlistat vs Saxenda® – which is right for you?

    On this page
    1. What is Saxenda® and how does it work? 
    2. What are the side effects of Saxenda®?
    3. What is Orlistat and how does it work? 
    4. What are the side effects of Orlistat? 
    5. What’s the differences between Orlistat and Saxenda®?
    6. Which is better for weight loss?

    Reviewed by our clinical team

    Orlistat vs Saxenda

    Orlistat and Saxenda® (liraglutide) are both medicated weight loss treatments. Both Orlistat and Saxenda® have been proven to be safe and effective during clinical trials.

    What is Saxenda® and how does it work? 

    Saxenda® is taken as a daily injection and works by making you feel less hungry. The treatment is suitable for people with a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30 or greater than 27 if experiencing other weight related conditions. BMI is used in healthcare to measure if you are a healthy weight.

    If suitable, Saxenda® can be accessed privately through LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor following an online consultation. Some people can also access it for free on the NHS

    With lifestyle changes, around 60% of people who use Saxenda® lose at least 5% of their body weight.

    What are the side effects of Saxenda®?

    Very common side effects of Saxenda® are likely to affect more than one in ten people and include:

    • Feeling sick (nausea)
    • Vomiting
    • Tiredness
    • Diarrhoea
    • Constipation
    • Headaches

    There are also more side effects categorised as serious, common, uncommon and rare. You can read about the side effects of Saxenda® here.

    What is Orlistat and how does it work? 

    Orlistat is a generic prescription treatment that prevents a third of dietary fat from being digested. Again, your BMI must be over 30 (or 28 if you have other associated risk factors) and can only be prescribed following a consultation with a clinician. Once prescribed, it's taken as a tablet, three times a day. 

    The active ingredient in Orlistat is orlistat – this active ingredient can also be found in Xenical and Alli. These treatments work in the same way but there are some key differences. Read about the key differences between Orlistat, Xenical and Alli here.

    Orlistat can be prescribed following a suitability assessment at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. Some people can also get if for free on the NHS

    Around 45% of people who take Orlistat lose around 5% of their body weight.

    What are the side effects of Orlistat? 

    The side effects of Orlistat include pain and discomfort in the stomach. Side effects are caused by the fat passed out via stools. As a result, people taking Orlistat might experience oily spotting in their underwear, flatulence and an urgency to use the toilet. A low-fat diet makes these side effects less likely.

    What’s the differences between Orlistat and Saxenda®?

    Some of the key differences have been summarised in the table below:


    Saxenda®
    Orlistat 
    Active ingredient
    Liraglutide
    Orlistat
    How it’s taken
    Daily injection
    Capsule taken three times a day
    How it works
    Reduces fat absorption
    Makes you feel less hungry
    Effectiveness*
    Around 60%
    Around 45%

    *% of people losing more than 5% of body weight 

    Which is better for weight loss?

    Both Saxenda® and Orlistat are effective weight loss treatments. When considering either treatment, you will need a clinical consultation to determine suitability. For example, you will be asked about current and recent uses of other medicines as well as your medical history. 

    Lifestyle factors should also be considered, such as the ability to inject daily at the same time (Saxenda®) or the likelihood of having three low-fat meals a day when taking an Orlistat tablet. 

    Considering weight loss treatment?

    View options


    References
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/treatment/ 
    https://www.saxenda.co.uk/patient-site/side-effects 
    https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/2313/smpc#gref 
    https://patient.info/healthy-living/obesity-overweight/orlistat-weight-loss-medicine
    https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/scientific-discussion/xenical-epar-scientific-discussion_en.pdf 

    Close
    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the United Kingdom only

    Close
    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the United Kingdom only

    Visit IE Online Doctor Continue with UK service
    Close
    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the Republic of Ireland only

    Continue with Irish Service Continue with UK Service