Xenical is the brand name for the generic prescription drug Orlistat, commonly used to treat obesity. Alli is the over-the-counter version of this medication. These medications work by blocking the absorption of ingested fat in the human body. This reduces the overall intake of calories and may lead to weight loss in some people.
Doctors may prescribe Xenical for someone who has a body mass index of 30 or over. A BMI of over 30 indicates obesity. Being obese can lead to a long list of health complications like type two diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, fatty liver disease, some forms of cancer, and others.
Looking at the numbers recorded over recent years, they show that cases of obesity are still on the rise in the United States. They now affect over 90 million American adults and currently cost the United States over $190 billion annually in medical bills.
Your health care provider may prescribe Xenical to help you with weight loss. Physicians generally suggest that this drug be used as part of a sensible weight loss program that includes a healthy diet together with regular physical activity. Xenical is not meant to be taken on its own as a miracle weight loss cure.
If you decide to try Xenical you should inform your health care provider about any other medications you are taking, or other health issues you have before you begin taking Xenical or similar drugs.
How Does Xenical Help Weight Loss?
If you have a body mass index of 30 or over, Xenical may help you lose weight. Health care providers encourage users of Xenical, or other similar drugs, to combine them with a healthy diet and increased physical activity for the best weight loss results.
Xenical, orlistat, and Alli are all lipase inhibitors. They work by inhibiting the lipase enzyme which is responsible for breaking down the fat that you eat. When this enzyme is blocked, dietary fat cannot be absorbed by the body and the fat is eliminated without adding to your total caloric intake.
Physicians who prescribe Xenical suggest that it is taken with meals that have a certain amount of dietary fat in them. You can take a capsule of Xenical before a meal or up to one hour afterwards. If your food does not contain fat, you do not take a pill.
Medicare Coverage of Xenical
If your Medicaid or Medicare benefits do not cover Xenical for weight loss, your out-of-pocket costs may be substantial. Xenical costs an average of $625.00 for 90 tablets of 120mg. The number of capsules you need during a one-month period depends on the type of meals you eat. Since Xenical is only taken with meals containing fat, you may not need a capsule at every meal.
As a comparison, Alli, the over-the-counter form of orlistat, is available in 60mg. capsule size and costs approximately $60.00 to $70.00 for 120 capsules. Alli is generally not covered because Medicare does not include benefits for over-the-counter medications, but if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, your coverage may include some over-the-counter benefits.
If your doctor prescribes Xenical or Orlistat as a pharmaceutical aid for weight loss. For this reason, your Medicare benefits may not cover the cost. If you have a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), or Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan with prescription drug coverage, your policy’s formulary may not include Xenical as a covered drug option. As of 2019, prescription drug plans associated with Medicare do not pay for weight loss medications because Medicare does not categorize them as medically necessary. Medicare considers weight loss drugs to be cosmetic treatments.
If you have coverage through Medicaid, or have dual eligibility, meaning you have coverage through Medicaid and Medicare together, you may have coverage for Xenical. Medicaid only covers these drugs for treatment of hypertension and not as a weight loss aid. Not every state offers coverage, so where you live depends on whether you can get Medicaid coverage for Xenical.