Alli Slimming Tablets Reviews & Side Effects
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Alli Reviews & Side Effects - Alli Slimming Tablets

Alli is made and promoted by GlaxoSmithKline, the same people who make Lucozade and Aquafresh, and approved by the FDA. However, Alli can cause side effects for some users.

Below we have reviewed Alli against our review criteria to help consumers make an informed decision.

Alli slimming pills

Alli Slimming Tablets Pros
  • Made by a large company, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Approved by the FDA
Alli Slimming Tablets Cons
  • No money-back guarantee
  • Side-effects could make taking the pills uncomfortable

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Alli Review

Alli was the first diet pill approved by the FDA for over the counter sale. It is the over the counter equivalent to Orlistat – a prescription medication, which gave it some publicity and an element of trustworthiness. The diet pill is thought to work by blocking enzymes in the body that break down fat, meaning that some of the fat consumed in the diet should not be stored in the body.

Claimed weight loss benefits

Alli Slimming Tablets are claimed to work as fat binders, preventing some of the fat molecules consumed from being absorbed by the body.

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How Alli Works

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Alli is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved over-the-Counter diet pill. The official website for Alli claims that for every 2 lb you lose Alli can help you lose a further 1 lb. To gain the best results the manufacturers of Alli say that you need to take it as part of a healthy diet and exercise.

The body produces an enzyme that has the job of breaking down the fats and food we eat to make them easier to digest. Alli is claimed to block this enzyme from working, leaving the body incapable of breaking down all of the fat molecules properly, causing some fat to be expelled from the body naturally via the digestive tract. The manufacturers claim that up to 25% of the fat we eat can’t be processed because of this method.


Alli’s main ingredient, Orlistat, is the key to how this diet pill works. Alli is the reduced strength version of Orlistat (Xenical), which is a prescription drug to treat obesity. Compared to Xenical, which contains 120mg of Orlistat, Alli contains 60mg, which enables it to be sold over-the-counter.

The body uses lipase, which is an enzyme found in the digestive tract (the series of organs in the digestive system through which food passes), to break down dietary fat into smaller parts, so it can either be stored or used. Alli is said to intervene in this process by disabling the enzyme, which prevents it from being able to break down the fat. Due to this, the undigested fat is then pushed through the intestines and is eliminated through bowel movements. As a result of you absorbing less fat, you end up reducing the amount of calories that is absorbed into the body, which can result in weight loss.

It has been suggested that Alli helps to reduce the amount of a particularly dangerous type of belly fat known as visceral fat. Visceral fat has been linked to many chronic, life-threatening conditions; including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

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Key Alli Ingredients

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The official Alli website doesn’t fully list the ingredients but does state that it is nut free and doesn’t contain soya, although it may not be suitable for vegetarians as it contains gelatin which is of animal origin. The main ingredient in Alli is Orlistat. This is the only active ingredient in the pills whereas inactive ingredients include iron oxide and Povidone. Active ingredients are ones that may interact with other drugs you may be taken.

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Clinical Studies

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The active ingredient in Alli, Orlistat, is said to have been established in more than a hundred clinical studies with data obtained from over 30,000 people. Many of these trials have produced positive results, though in some clinical trials, the adverse effects of Orlistat gave people uncomfortable side effects such as abdominal discomfort and fatty and oily stools. However, many of these were tests done with 120mg of Orlistat. There have been tests done on 60 mg of Orlistat, which is how much Alli contains, and we shall discuss these below.


It is well known that abdominal obesity is associated with the increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, which is why one study titled: ‘Orlistat 60mg reduces visceral adipose tissue: A 24 week randomized placebo-controlled multi center trial’ was carried out.

The purpose of the study was to see if a 24-week weight loss program with Orlistat 60mg could have a greater effect on overweight subjects’ visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat tissue that surrounds internal organs in the abdominal cavity, compared to the placebo. Also, the study was carried out to monitor the effects of Orlistat on changes in total fat mass, ectopic fat and glycemic, causing glucose (sugar) in the blood, variables.

For this study, 131 subjects were randomized into a multicenter, double-blind placebo controlled study. The results of this study showed that both groups lost a lot of VAT (Visceral adipose fat), but the group taking Orlistat lost more. Also, the Orlistat group had more overall weight loss, fat mass loss and greater intramuscular adipose tissue, which is fat tissue located between muscle, and content of liver fat.

This was the first study to show that Orlistat 60mg significantly reduces VAT in addition to total body fat compared to the placebo treated subjects. These results suggest that it can be a weight loss tool to reduce metabolic risk factors found with abdominal obesity.

Another study titled: ‘Orlistat 60mg and abdominal obesity’ also shows how effective Orlistat can be for weight loss. The aim of this study was to find out if 60mg Orlistat is as effective a weight loss option in a free-living environment, with minimal professional help.

Twenty-seven subjects had their adipose tissue and ectopic lipid, which is fat where it isn’t supposed to be, content measured using an MRI and a MRS scanner. They then for three months took Orlistat 60mg with a reduced calorie low fat diet. The results of this study showed that body fat content and distribution was reduced and there was an improvement in plasma lipids, which are fatty particles carried in blood, and a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.

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Alli Side Effects

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On the official website for Alli, it mentions that due to the way the tablet works, excreting fat via stools, you can expect some side effects related to your bowel movement. You can expect to experience things from flatulence to oily stools. The manufacturers of Alli do however state that these side effects are mostly due to your diet, meaning that if you have a diet that contains more fat than they suggest, you are likely to experience these side effects.

There has been a recent updated statement on the website about the labelling of Alli and the risk of liver damage. Due to a review of Orlistat (which is the main ingredient in Alli) in relation to liver injury, all products have been labelled to inform customers of the potential risk and to seek medical help if you experience this.

By taking Alli you can experience some mild side effects, which are temporary, but more common than the others are. You can experience side effects such as: oily or fatty stools, oily spotting, loose stools, gas, gastro-intestinal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, itching, loss of appetite, weakness, and jaundice.


Due to the Orlistat in Alli there are some other side effects, some more serious. If you have an allergic reaction to Orlistat, you can expect to experience effects such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat. Since you cannot know if you have an allergy without being pre exposed to Orlistat if you experience any of the side effects, you must stop using and get emergency help.

There are also serious side effects that you can experience which include: severe lower back pain, cold and flu symptoms, changes in mood, drowsiness, confusion, blood in urine, problems with teeth and gums, increased heart rate, less frequent urination, shortness of breath, and pain in the stomach spreading to the back.

Some of these side effects such as abdominal pain, confusion and nausea are similar to symptoms of liver disease, so if you experience any of these side effects you should seek medical help. There have been studies done on Orlistat at 60mg, which is the same amount that Alli contains, and there have been no reports of people experiencing these more serious side effects, but the tests subjects might not accurately represent the global population. So if you do experience any of these more severe side effects, immediately stop using Alli and consult a doctor.

The U.S FDA has approved a new label for Xenical to include safety information about cases of severe liver injury that have been reported. Due to Alli containing Orlistat, the new label will also apply to all Alli products. There hasn’t been any evidence that supports the connection between liver injury and taking Orlistat, but because of the seriousness of liver disease, the FDA have decided to add advice about liver disease and its symptoms, and the need to see a doctor if any of these symptoms are experienced.

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How to Use

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Before looking into Alli if you have a BMI lower than 28, Alli isn’t recommended for your use. To use Alli, you take three capsules a day at meal times, before, during or up to an hour after meal. The capsule should be swallowed completely with water. If you are using Alli chewable you just need to chew these – no water is needed.

You shouldn’t take more than three tablets a day, and if you miss, a meal or your meal doesn’t contain fat you shouldn’t take Alli. It is also advised that you take a multivitamin everyday at bedtime, to make sure you get adequate absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat is an important part of your diet, the right amount helps you absorb vitamins, so by reducing the amount of fat you absorb, you will also absorb less vitamins, which is why the multivitamin is advised.

So you don’t experience the unpleasant side effects, it is recommended that you stick to 15 grams of fat per meal. Diet and exercise are also encouraged, with claims that for every 2lb you lose, Alli can help you lose an extra 1lb.

Alli Programme Guidelines suggest that you shouldn’t take Alli if you’re under 18, pregnant, breastfeeding, have problems absorbing food, have cholestasis, are allergic to Orlistat, or are taking certain medications, such as ciclosporin or warfarin. You should talk to a doctor before taking it if you have kidney disease or are taking medications for diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart rhythm problems.

‘Food tools’ are provided to help you stay in control of what you’re eating, and learn about food as you go through all the healthy eating articles. Tools include Recipes and Meal planner. Exercise tools and articles give you some easy ways to add simple exercise into your daily routine. ‘Alli tools’ are provided to help you to keep track of your weight loss.

There is also a 25 skills for life area, which is designed to give you facts about healthy weight loss and it also advises you on how to make lasting changes, which are needed to achieve and maintain healthy weight. The skills include learning how to eat out, exercise, and dealing with stress.

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Who Makes It?

The company behind Alli is called official website., which is a British pharmaceutical company. With headquarters in London, they are ranked as the worlds 4th largest pharmaceutical company measured by the prescription drug sales of 2009.

The company also has offices in more than 115 countries, with important research centres in the UK, USA, Spain, Belgium and China. GlaxoSmithKline is a science-led global healthcare company that researches and develops a broad range of innovative medicines and brands, some of these brands include Aquafresh, Corsodyl and Nicorette.

GlaxoSmithKline was formed in 2000 by the merger of Glaxo Wellcome plc and SmithKline Beecham plc. This company is a product of merging of many other companies throughout the years, Glaxo Wellcome plc was formed from the acquisition of Wellcome plc by Glaxo plc, and SmithKline Beecham plc was formed from a merger of Beecham plc and SmithKline Beckman Corporation. Both of these companies’ origins can be traced back to as early as the 1800s. More in depth history on the company can be found on the official website.

The company focuses on three areas; Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer healthcare. In terms of pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline have a large range of medicines available or in development to help treat, infectious diseases, cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and HIV and AIDS. The company also researches and develops paediatric and adult vaccines to prevent a range of infectious diseases. These include hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella, polio, typhoid, influenza and bacterial meningitis.

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Where to Buy Alli


As it is approved by the FDA, Alli pills are not too difficult to locate, either on the high street or online. They are over the counter diet pills that do not require a prescription and thus you’ll be able to find them in some chemists. Additionally, you can find them on the official website.

Due to its FDA approval, you can find Alli in many high street and online pharmacies. However, these diet pills are not cheap with an 84 pack costing £34 to £40.

Lloyds pharmacy offer a range of quantities, also you can buy the tablets with equipment such as a scale to help you on your weight loss journey. You can buy 84 capsules, which is 28 days worth, for £34.95 (original price £49.95). If you want to buy in bulk you can buy a triple pack (252 capsules) for £102.95 (original price £134.99). Boots only offers the 84 capsule pack of Alli, which costs £39.95 (original price £49.95).

Chemist direct has a range of quantities, but they don’t have all the gadgets that Lloyds pharmacy offer such as the scale. You can buy an 84 capsule pack for £40 (original price £52.13), a twin 84 capsule pack for £67.99 (original price £104.26), a triple 84 capsule pack for £101.99 (original price £156.39), and six packs of 84 capsules for £200 (original price £312.78). You can also get the Alli diet book for £9.99 (original price £14.99), which contains the different meal choices and recipes. There is also an option to buy Alli with other products such as BioCarb Natural Carb Blocker.

Like Chemist direct, Pharmacy 2u offer a large range of tablet quantities plus a scale and diet plan. You can get 84 capsules for £34.95 (original price £52.13), 120 capsules for £52.99 (original price £65), twin 84 capsule pack for £69.79 (original price £104.33), a triple 84 capsule pack for £102.89 (original price £156.37). There is also an Alli diet plan book for £8.99 (original price £15.31), or 84 capsules and the diet plan book for £47.99 (original price £67.44). For those who don’t have a scale you can get 84 capsules with an electronic scale for £47.99 (original price £71.53). To help with food portion control there is also a plate you can buy with 84 capsules for £47.99 (original price £62.33).

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Does Alli Meet our Approved Criteria

Money-back-guarantee: No. The official website does not mention a money-back guarantee.

One-off payment: Alli can be purchased from several retailers for a one-off payment.

Manufacturing Standard: Alli is FDA-approved.

Accompanying Diet Plan: Yes, diet and exercise advice is provided.

Ingredients and quantities disclosed: No, a full ingredients list is not provided.

Company contact details readily available: Full contact details are provided on the GSK website.

Alli does not meet our ‘Approved’ criteria as there is no money-back guarantee and a full ingredients list is not provided on the official website.

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Overall Verdict

Alli stands out from the majority of weight loss supplements on the market because it has been approved by the FDA. The active ingredient in the product, Orlistat, has been shown in clinical studies to have the potential to aid weight loss by preventing the absorption of some fat molecules. The company behind the product is global and well established. The product might cause gastro-intestinal side effects and there are some groups of people who should avoid it.

View our article comparing XLS Medical Vs Alli

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