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About prescription weight loss treatments

We can offer either Saxenda, Orlistat or Xenical as prescription treatment to help you lose weight. We expect to be able to offer Wegovy in 2023. We’ll help you decide if treatment is right for you, and how you need to take it to get the best results.

We’ll check in with you after you start any treatment we prescribe to see how you’re getting on. If it’s going well, you can potentially request repeat prescriptions for up to 12 months and we’ll check in regularly with you to see if you are on track.

We answer a lot of questions about Saxenda. For more information look at our Saxenda FAQs and our dedicated Saxenda page.

How do the treatments work?

Saxenda works by reducing your appetite and making you feel fuller. You inject Saxenda under your skin using an injection pen. You can see how to inject it in the How to use your Saxenda pen video.

Xenical is the branded version of Orlistat. These tablets both work in the same way — by blocking the absorption of some of the fat from your meal. Your body then gets rid of the fat through your stool. The medicines are best used alongside a lower fat healthy eating plan. Eating less fat at meal times while taking your treatment can help to reduce any potential side effects of the medicine.

Please see our ‘Eating when on Saxenda, Orlistat or Xenical’ guides for extra tips on losing weight successfully.

For more information on Saxenda, see our dedicated Saxenda page.

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Weight Loss Treatment
Clinical review within 2–24 hrs  
Repeat prescriptions available

How do I take weight loss medicine?

If you’re prescribed Saxenda, you’ll need to inject it just under the skin. You’ll probably find this is easier than you first think. Saxenda should be used once a day, at around the same time. Best injection sites are your tummy area (abdomen), the front of your thighs or your upper arm. Saxenda needs to be stored in the fridge.

Orlistat and Xenical are tablet medicines. You take a single tablet with water, immediately before or up to one hour after a main meal. You can take your prescribed treatment up to three times a day. If you miss a meal, or have a meal that does not contain fat, you should not take Orlistat or Xenical at that time.

What are the side effects?

These medicines have some potential side effects. These include headaches and increased anxiety.

With Saxenda the common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation. There can also be an increased heart rate and an increased risk of gallstones. For more information on these side effects, see our Saxenda side effects page.

There are also some common side effects with Orlistat or Xenical that are caused by the extra fat being passed out through your stool. These include abdominal pain, oily diarrhoea, the urgent need to use the toilet, wind, and anal leakage. When used with the recommended low fat approach to your meals, these side effects can be reduced. There can also be headaches and increased anxiety.

For the full information on a medicine’s side effects and how to take it, it’s important to read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.

How quickly does weight loss treatment work?

Both Orlistat and Xenical treatments start to work the first time you take a tablet with a meal. It will block some of the fat from being absorbed by the body.

Saxenda starts working straight away, and you should see the effects within 2 weeks.

How long does it take to lose weight with weight loss treatment?

If you take your treatment as recommended with a low fat food plan, you can expect to lose at least 5% of body weight over three months. It’s important to remember that although these medicines can help, changing your lifestyle and eating habits is what will sustain a healthy weight over the long term.

Important safety information

Please tell us which other medicines you’re taking — whether they’re prescription or medicines you’ve bought without a prescription. We need to know so that we can prescribe treatment, if it’s suitable for you. If you’re taking certain medicines or living with certain medical conditions, this service might not be suitable for you.


We currently prescribe Saxenda, Orlistat and Xenical. We expect Wegovy to launch in 2023. You might also have heard about Ozempic or Rybelsus.

Wegovy is a weight loss treatment that works similarly to Saxenda. It’s an injection you give yourself once a week that helps to reduce hunger and aid weight loss alongside a restricted calorie diet and increased physical activity. In clinical trials, patients experienced significant weight loss. Wegovy has been available in the United States since 2021 and we expect Wegovy to come to Boots Online Doctor in 2023. Find out more about Wegovy.

Other medicines you might have heard of include Ozempic and Rybelsus. These are currently licensed to treat type 2 diabetes. These treatments have the same active ingredient as Wegovy (semaglutide) and are sometimes prescribed off-label to support weight loss. We aren’t currently offering these treatments.

What are my options if I don’t want medicine?

There are things that you can do to manage your weight without medicine. Improving your diet and increasing your activity can both help with weight loss and help you to live a healthier, happier life.

At Boots Online Doctor, we don’t just stop with medicine. Check out our free online webinars where our Lifestyle Team offers expert advice on weight loss. We’re also developing a wide range of new support resources to help you reach and maintain your weight loss goals, including a dedicated lifestyle hub - coming soon.

Keeping you safe

If you do not feel safe, are experiencing abuse or control, or have experienced this in the past, please find support below or send us a message:

Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 23/08/2021