Alli (pronounced AL-eye) is an over-the-counter drug meant for overweight adults struggling to shed excess pounds.

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How is Alli taken?

You take one 60-milligram Alli pill within an hour of a fat-containing meal up to three times a day. You should spread your daily fat intake over the three main meals. Fat intake should be no more than 30% of total calories. The manufacturer recommends a fat intake of about 15 grams a meal.

If you eat a meal that has no fat, then you don’t need a dose of Alli. If you take Alli with a high-fat meal, you’ll likely experience more-severe digestive side effects.

Alli can reduce the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including beta carotene and vitamins A, D, E and K. Take a multivitamin at least two hours after your last dose of Alli. For some people, this timing works out best to be at bedtime.

How much weight could I lose using Alli?

Alli may help you lose weight. But the weight loss will likely be modest. For example, it may be just a few pounds more than you would lose with diet and exercise alone.

In some studies, more than 40% of people taking Alli while following a calorie-restricted diet and increasing physical activity lost 5% or more of their body weight within a year. Clinically meaningful weight loss, generally defined as 5% or more of body weight, means that there is enough weight loss to begin lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.

People who ate a calorie-restricted diet, exercised regularly and took Alli lost an average of 5.7 pounds (2.6 kilograms) more in one year than did people who only dieted and exercised.