Weight loss tablets

Who can benefit from weight-loss medications?

If you haven't been able to lose weight with diet and exercise and satisfy one of the following criteria, your doctor may recommend a weight-loss medicine for you:

  • Your BMI (body mass index) is more than 30.

  • You have a BMI of more than 27 and a major medical condition associated with obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and current health issues before prescribing a medication for you. Then your doctor will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of prescription weight-loss medicines with you.

It's vital to keep in mind that weight-loss medications aren't right for everyone. Prescription weight-loss medicines, for example, should not be used if you are attempting to conceive, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

How effective are weight-loss medications?

When compared to placebo, prescription weight-reduction medicines approved for long-term usage (greater than 12 weeks) achieve significant weight loss. When weight-loss medicine and lifestyle changes are combined, weight loss is greater than when lifestyle improvements are made alone.

Over the course of a year, this can equate to a weight loss of 3% to 7% of total body weight in addition to what can be achieved with lifestyle modifications alone. That may appear to be a small sum. However, a prolonged weight loss of 5% to 10% can have significant health benefits, including reduced blood pressure, blood sugar, and lipid levels.

What you need to know about weight-loss medications

Nausea, constipation, and diarrhea are all frequent adverse effects. They might become better with time. Serious negative effects are quite rare. As a result, it's critical to have a full discussion with your doctor about treatment alternatives. Weight-loss medications can be costly, and insurance does not always cover them. Inquire about coverage with your insurance company. When patients quit taking weight-loss medicines, they often regain part of the weight they lost. Adopting healthy living behaviors, on the other hand, may assist reduce weight growth.

What is the duration of medication therapy?

The length of time you'll take a weight-loss medicine is determined by how effective it is in helping you lose weight. Your doctor may recommend that you continue taking the prescription indefinitely if you've lost enough weight to enhance your health and haven't experienced any major adverse effects. If you haven't lost at least 5% of your body weight after three to six months on the full dose of a medicine, your doctor will likely switch you to a different weight-loss drug.

What medications have been approved for weight loss?

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved four weight-loss medicines for long-term use:

Bupropion-naltrexone is a combination of the drugs bupropion and naltrex (Contrave)

Liraglutide is a drug that is used to treat diabetes (Saxenda)

Orlistat is a diet pill that helps you lose weight (Xenical)

Topiramate-phentermine (Qsymia)

The majority of prescription weight-loss medications act by reducing hunger or enhancing feelings of fullness. Some people do both. Orlistat is an exception. It works by preventing fat from being absorbed.


A combination of bupropion and naltrexone is used to treat addiction. Naltrexone is a drug that is used to treat alcohol and opiate addiction. Bupropion is a quit-smoking aid and antidepressant. Bupropion, like all antidepressants, comes with a suicide risk warning. Bupropion-naltrexone can raise blood pressure, thus it's important to check it at first. Nausea, headaches, and constipation are all common adverse effects.


Liraglutide is a drug that is used to treat diabetes. Liraglutide, unlike other weight-loss medications, is administered through injection. Nausea is a very common ailment. Its use may be limited if you vomit.


Orlistat is also accessible without a prescription in a reduced-strength variant (Alli). Flatulence and loose stools are two common gastrointestinal adverse effects of orlistat. When using this medication, you must eat a low-fat diet. Orlistat has been linked to a small number of significant liver injuries. There hasn't been any proof of a cause-and-effect relationship.


Phentermine-topiramate is a weight-loss medicine (phentermine) combined with an anticonvulsant (topiramate) (topiramate). Because it operates like an amphetamine, phentermine has the potential to be abused. An increase in heart rate and blood pressure, sleeplessness, constipation, and nervousness are all possible side effects. Topiramate is linked to an increased risk of birth abnormalities.

Phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira) is also used alone to help people lose weight. It's one of four weight-loss medicines that have been licensed for short-term use (less than 12 weeks). The other medications in this category aren't extensively used.

Last but not least

Weight-loss medicines aren't a quick fix for obesity. However, they might be able to assist you in making the required lifestyle modifications to help you lose weight and improve your health.