Can Weight Loss Drugs Actually Assist You Lose Weight?

Despite what you may have heard from the numerous TV and online advertisements you have seen, there is no scientific evidence that supplements can help you burn fat without watching your diet or exercising .

Generally many of the products marketed as weight loss pills fall under the dietary supplement category. Consequently, since they are not classified as drugs, they are not subject to FDA regulations, meaning there is not enough credible research to determine if they work.

Although there is no proof that weight loss pills work, the answer depends on who you ask. Doctors, for example, rely on scientific evidence, research and clinical trials – the lack of which leads them to conclude that weight loss pills are a marketing ploy.

On the other hand, ask any weight loss coach and chances are they will agree that these pills work. However, a trainer will also tell you that they only work when combined with proper diet and exercise.

Although supplemental weight loss pills don’t work medically, there are prescription drugs that are scientifically proven to help you shed weight.

Can Prescription Weight Loss Pills Help You Burn Weight?

Yes, prescription weight loss pills have been clinically proven to help people lose weight. However, the reason why they are not that popular is that they are prescribed by doctors for patients who are facing serious health problems due to their weight.

As a result, most of the people who want to lose weight cannot get these weight burning pills as their weight has no adverse health effects.

Who is a Prescription Weight Loss Pill Candidate?

Prescription weight loss pills are a great alternative for people who have tried dieting and exercising without getting the results they want. Nevertheless, even with these pillsit’s important to keep exercising and monitoring your diet for best results.

A doctor will prescribe weight loss pills if:

  • You have a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30
  • You have a serious medical condition due to obesity (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) and a BMI of 27 or more

Your doctor will review your medical history before prescribing these drugs and will tell you about their benefits and side effects. However, remember that these pills are not for everyone – it is highly recommended to avoid them if you:

  • Trying to get pregnant
  • Pregnant
  • breastfeeding

How Effective Are Prescription Weight Loss Pills?

Corresponding Mayo Clinic, consistent use of prescription weight loss pills for 12 weeks can burn between 3 and 7 percent of your total body weight annually. Combine that with the weight you would lose through lifestyle changes, including dieting and exercise, and the pounds add up significantly by the end of the year.

While this may seem like an insignificant number, losing more than 5% of your total weight per year can lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and significantly reduce your chance of developing heart disease.

Do Prescription Weight Burn Pills Have Side Effects?

Yes, like most medications, prescription weight loss pills come with some side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • nausea
  • constipation

However, serious side effects are rare. But maybe you should consider that you can regain the lost weight if you stop taking these drugs. However, if you lead an active lifestyle and watch what you eat, you can stay fit and prevent excess weight gain.

How long do I have to take prescription weight loss pills?

A typical dose lasts about 6 months, after which your doctor will assess your progress to see if the pills are helping. If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the six months to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you may no longer need to take them.

However, if the doctor finds that the medication did not have the expected effect, there is a high probability that he will recommend you to continue taking the pills or he will prescribe you another weight loss pill.

What Prescription Weight Loss Pills Are FDA Approved?

Unlike dietary supplements prescription pills for weight loss are categorized as medicinal products and are therefore subject to FDA regulations. What this means to you is that these drugs have been tested and proven safe for human consumption and are effective at doing what they say they are.

So if you need to take weight loss medication, opt for prescription pills as they are the safest option. There are three prescription weight loss pills that are FDA approved for long-term use, namely:

  • Orlistat sold as Xenical
  • Bupropion-naltrexone marketed as Contrave
  • Phentermine topiramate is sold as Qsymia

Typically, these medications either decrease your appetite or increase feelings of fullness. While some do both, others like orlistat work differently – it interferes with fat absorption.

Below is a brief overview of the three weight loss pills, what they are most commonly used for and their side effects.


This drug is most commonly used to treat opioid and alcohol addiction. It is also an antidepressant and has been found to help smokers kick the habit. However, it has significant side effects, including:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • headache
  • risk of suicide


While this drug is only available by prescription, there is a weaker variant called Alli that is available without a prescription. However, if you want faster results, stick with the prescription variant.

It’s important that you switch to a low-fat diet when using Xenical to get the best results. Like most medications, it has some side effects, such as loose stools and gas. At worst, the drug is believed to cause severe liver damage, although this is extremely rare.


Qsymia is a mix of the anticonvulsant known as topiramate and phentermine, a weight loss drug. It’s one of the most effective appetite suppressantIt also has some serious side effects, including nervousness, insomnia, increased heart rate and high blood pressure, and a higher risk of birth defects.

However, its major disadvantage is that it is the most likely to be abused due to its addictive nature.

Final Verdict

Although prescription weight loss pills are effective, medication is not the safest option when trying to lose weight. The best thing you can do is change your lifestyle to a more active lifestyle that includes exercise and a controlled diet.

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