Medications for Weight Loss

Medications for Weight Loss

Weight loss drugs are usually combined with dieting and regular exercises. Drugs are typically designed for weight loss of 10% of your body weight because they are not a long term solution due to health complications. Weight loss drugs alone are not the reason for losing weight, dieting and exercising all play in a role as well. Even if the weight loss is 10% it still has many benefits including

Decreasing blood pressure
Decreasing lipid (fat) levels
Decreasing blood glucose levels
Increasing insulin sensitivity
Lower risks of heart diseases, heart attack, stroke
Lower risks of cancer

Not everyone should take prescribed weight loss drugs. These drugs are designed for people who have tried to lose weight and was not successful. And who have health issues because of their weight. If you want to lose few pounds for a slight appearance change then the drug is not for you. If dieting and exercising produced no results or little results compare to the norm then speak with your doctor. Weight loss drugs should only be used if your dieting and exercising method did not work after few tries. To qualify, your BMI should be over 30, or over 27 with medical problems related to diabetes or high blood pressure.


Most common drugs to lose weight include:



Lorcaserin (Belviq)

Contrave (Naltrexone & bupropion)


(Adipex-P, Suprenza)

Orlistat (Xenical)

Qsymia (Phentermine & topiramate)

Liraglutide (Saxenda)

There are generally two types of weight loss drugs. Short term use and long term use.Short term weight loss drugs are designed for a duration less than 12 weeks. These drugs include Diethylpropion (Tenuate), phentermine (Adipex-P), benzphetamine (Didrex) and phendimetrazine. They are approved for short term use because they are classified as a controlled substances with the potential for abuse. These drugs are not recommended for people with heart disease, high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism.

Below is a quick description of some popular long term weight loss drugs


Orlistat is to be used with a low intake of fat. Orlistat essentially blocks fat absorption. In some rare cases, severe liver damage was a by product of using the drug, however scientists cannot find a relationship between orlistat and liver damage. People who are taking Orlistat should pay close attention to signs and symptoms that could be possible liver damage. These include itching, loss of appetite, yellow eyes, brown urine and light colored stool.

Lorcaserin (Belviq).

This drug work similar to fenfluramine. Lorcaserin may increase heart rate and damage the heart valves that govern the flow of blood.


Osymia (combined drug of phentermine and topiramate) increases the risk of birth defects. Women should avoid possible impregnation while using this drug. Women who are pregnant should not take this drug. Phenetermine is also a controlled substances that has the potential to abuse.

Contrave (combination drug of naltrexone and bupropion).

Bupropion is an antidepressant used to decrease the chance of weight gain from quiting smoking. Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence. With these two drugs combined it increases heart rate and blood pressure which translate to an increase risk of seizures. Bupropion also can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.

Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Unlike all other weight loss drugs, Saxenda is administered by a daily injection. Studies have found an unknown relationship between Saxenda and tumor growth in the thyroid area.

Weight-loss drugs are not the best answer to weight loss, but they can be a useful tool to help you make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes. Many people after successfully losing weight still experienced regaining of the weight despite their efforts. Keep in mind that losing weight is a slow but surely steady process, however if you return to your old eating habits, you will gain the weight back. If millions of others can do it, then you can do it too!