Best Prescription Weight Loss Pills: A Comprehensive List

Understanding Prescription Weight Loss Pills and Obesity

Prescription weight loss pills can be a vital solution for adults dealing with serious weight-related health problems. If you’ve struggled with diet and exercise without seeing the results you need, these medications might provide the help you’re looking for.

Here’s a quick overview of FDA-approved prescription weight loss pills:
1. Semaglutide (Wegovy)
2. Tirzepatide (Zepbound)
3. Liraglutide (Saxenda)
4. Phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira)
5. Phentermine-Topiramate (Qsymia)
6. Naltrexone-Bupropion (Contrave)
7. Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
8. Setmelanotide (Imcivree)

Obesity is a condition defined by a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, or a BMI over 27 if you have other health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure. These FDA-approved medications are designed to work alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise, not replace them.

Hi, I’m Sazan Sylejmani. With extensive experience as a pharmacy manager and a thorough understanding of prescription weight loss pills, I’m here to help you navigate your weight loss options.

Infographic on Prescription Weight Loss Pills - prescription weight loss pills infographic pillar-5-steps

Criteria for Prescription Weight Loss Pills

To be considered for prescription weight loss pills, you need to meet certain criteria. These criteria ensure that the medication is appropriate and beneficial for your health.

BMI: The Starting Point

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a key factor. Your BMI needs to be over 30 to qualify for these medications. If you have weight-related health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, a BMI over 27 can also make you eligible.

Weight-Related Health Conditions

Having weight-related health conditions can make you a candidate for prescription weight loss pills. Conditions like:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol

These conditions are serious and can be improved with weight loss. Prescription pills might be part of your treatment plan if you have these issues.

Lifestyle Changes: A Must

Prescription weight loss pills are not a magic bullet. They must be used in combination with lifestyle changes. This means:

  • Healthy Diet: Eat balanced meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
  • Regular Exercise: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

These changes are crucial for the pills to be effective. The medication helps, but your lifestyle does the heavy lifting.

Doctor Consultation: The Final Step

Before starting any weight loss medication, a doctor consultation is essential. Your doctor will:

  • Review your medical history.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of each medication.
  • Monitor your progress and side effects.

This consultation ensures that the chosen medication is safe and effective for you. It’s a personalized approach to weight loss.

Prescription weight loss pills can be a valuable tool in your weight loss journey. But they are just one part of a comprehensive plan that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and ongoing medical support.

Next, let’s look at some of the top prescription weight loss pills available today.

Top Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Semaglutide (Wegovy)

Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that helps reduce appetite and promote weight loss. It’s taken as a weekly injection and is FDA-approved for weight management. Clinical studies have shown that people taking Wegovy can lose up to 15% of their initial body weight.

However, it comes with some side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. If blood sugar levels drop too quickly, it may worsen diabetic retinopathy.

Tirzepatide (Zepbound)

Tirzepatide, branded as Zepbound, is a dual GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonist. It’s also taken as a weekly injection and is FDA-approved for weight loss. People using Zepbound can lose up to 20% of their initial body weight.

Side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s crucial to monitor these side effects and talk to your doctor if they become severe.

Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Liraglutide, known as Saxenda, is another GLP-1 receptor agonist. Unlike Wegovy, it requires a daily injection. Saxenda can help people lose significant weight by controlling appetite and slowing stomach emptying.

Side effects include nausea and vomiting, which can sometimes limit its use. It’s also important to note that Saxenda has some contraindications. It should not be used by people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.

Phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira)

Phentermine is one of the oldest and most widely used weight loss medications. It works as an appetite suppressant and is typically prescribed for short-term use. Some patients may lose about 5% of their body weight with this medication.

Side effects can include headache, overstimulation, high blood pressure, insomnia, and rapid or irregular heart rate. It also has several contraindications, such as uncontrolled hypertension, coronary artery disease, and hyperthyroidism.

Phentermine-Topiramate (Qsymia)

Phentermine-Topiramate, sold as Qsymia, is a combination drug that suppresses appetite. Phentermine acts as a stimulant, while topiramate is an anticonvulsant that also reduces appetite.

Side effects include abnormal sensations, dizziness, altered taste, insomnia, constipation, and dry mouth. It should not be used by people with uncontrolled hypertension, coronary artery disease, or glaucoma.

Naltrexone-Bupropion (Contrave)

Naltrexone-Bupropion, known as Contrave, combines an opioid receptor antagonist with an antidepressant. This combination affects the pleasure-reward areas of the brain, reducing cravings and appetite.

Common side effects include nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, and diarrhea. It has significant contraindications and should not be prescribed to patients with seizure disorders or those taking opioids for chronic pain.

Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)

Orlistat, sold under the brand names Xenical and Alli, is a lipase inhibitor. It works by blocking about 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed. This undigested fat is then passed through the body.

Side effects can include oily discharge from the rectum, flatus with discharge, increased defecation, and fecal incontinence. Orlistat is available as an over-the-counter option in a lower dose.

Setmelanotide (Imcivree)

Setmelanotide, branded as Imcivree, is a melanocortin-4 receptor agonist. It is specifically approved for people with certain genetic disorders like pro-opiomelanocortin deficiency, proprotein subtilisin-kexin type 1 deficiency, and leptin receptor deficiency.

Side effects can include swollen or irritated skin where the needle went in, patches of darker skin, nausea, diarrhea, belly pain, and unwanted sexual reactions. It is FDA-approved for chronic weight management in both adults and children aged 6 and older with these specific genetic conditions.

By understanding the different options, you and your healthcare provider can make an informed decision about which prescription weight loss pill is best for you.

Next, let’s explore how these prescription weight loss pills actually work.

How Prescription Weight Loss Pills Work

Prescription weight loss pills can be a powerful tool in managing obesity. They work through various mechanisms to help you lose weight and keep it off. Here’s a look at how they function:

Appetite Suppression

Many prescription weight loss pills work by making you feel less hungry. They target the brain’s hunger centers to reduce appetite. For example, Phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira) is an appetite suppressant that increases the release of norepinephrine in the brain, making you feel less hungry. Similarly, Naltrexone-Bupropion (Contrave) affects the pleasure-reward areas of the brain to decrease cravings and appetite.

Quote: “Phentermine increases the release of norepinephrine in the brain resulting in appetite suppression,” explains Dr. Aleem Kanji, an endocrinologist.

Increased Fullness

Some medications help you feel full sooner and for longer periods. GLP-1 receptor agonists like Semaglutide (Wegovy) and Liraglutide (Saxenda) work by mimicking a hormone that tells your brain you’re full. This can make it easier to stick to a healthy diet.

Feeling Full - prescription weight loss pills

Fact: Clinical trials have shown that many of these drugs can help you lose 5%-10% of your body weight or more, leading to health improvements like lowered blood pressure and improved sleep apnea.

Fat Absorption Interference

Another way these pills work is by reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat. Orlistat (Xenical, Alli) is a lipase inhibitor that blocks the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats in your diet. This undigested fat is then passed out of your body.

Statistic: Research has shown that Orlistat can stop dietary fat absorption by about 30%.

Hormonal Regulation

Some weight loss medications affect hormones that control hunger and metabolism. Tirzepatide (Zepbound), for instance, is a dual GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonist that helps regulate these hormones, making your body use energy more efficiently and reducing food cravings.

News: According to a 2022 article in Life Science, new drugs targeting hunger or satiety signaling have shown increased adoption by physicians due to their improved safety profiles and fewer psychological adverse events.

By targeting these different mechanisms, prescription weight loss pills offer a multifaceted approach to managing obesity. Next, let’s answer some common questions about these medications.

Frequently Asked Questions about Prescription Weight Loss Pills

How effective are prescription weight loss pills?

Prescription weight loss pills can be quite effective when combined with lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and regular exercise. Clinical studies show that these medications can help you lose 3% to 12% more of your total body weight compared to lifestyle changes alone.

For example, taking these drugs for a year can mean losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, which can have significant health benefits. Lowering blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and triglycerides are some of the positive outcomes.

What are the common side effects?

Just like any medication, prescription weight loss pills come with potential side effects. Here are some common ones:

  • Nausea: This is often the most reported side effect. It usually goes away as your body gets used to the medication.
  • Constipation: Another frequent issue, but it can often be managed with diet changes or over-the-counter remedies.
  • Diarrhea: Some people experience loose stools, especially with medications like Orlistat.
  • Headache: Mild headaches can occur but typically lessen over time.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded is also common, but usually temporary.

It’s essential to talk to your doctor about any side effects you experience. They can provide solutions or adjust your treatment plan if needed.

How long should you take prescription weight loss pills?

The duration for taking prescription weight loss pills varies based on the medication and your individual response to it.

  • Short-term use: Some medications, like Phentermine, are only approved for short-term use, typically a few weeks.
  • Long-term use: Other medications, like Orlistat (Xenical) and Semaglutide (Wegovy), are approved for long-term use. You might need to take these for several months or even years.

Your doctor will closely monitor your progress. If you’ve lost enough weight to improve your health and haven’t had serious side effects, they may suggest continuing the medication long-term.

Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider are crucial to ensure the medication is still working for you and to make any necessary adjustments.

Next, we’ll dive into how these medications actually work to help you lose weight.


At Westmont Pharmacy, we understand that losing weight can be challenging. That’s why we offer personalized care to help you find the best prescription weight loss pills for your needs.

Personalized Care

Our team is dedicated to providing you with the support you need on your weight loss journey. We work closely with healthcare providers to ensure your treatment plan is tailored to your specific health needs. This includes monitoring your progress and adjusting your medication as needed.

Prescription Compounding

Sometimes, standard medications aren’t the best fit for everyone. That’s where our prescription compounding services come in. We can customize medications into different forms, such as liquids, capsules, or even flavored options, to make them easier to take. This service is especially helpful for those who have trouble swallowing pills or need a specific dosage.

Medication Synchronization

Managing multiple medications can be overwhelming. Our medication synchronization program can help. We align all your prescriptions so you can pick them up at the same time each month. This makes it easier to stay on track and ensures you never miss a dose.

Medical Equipment

In addition to prescription weight loss pills, we offer a range of medical equipment to support your overall health and well-being. From blood pressure monitors to glucose meters, we have the tools you need to monitor your health at home.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your weight loss journey, contact Westmont Pharmacy today. We’re here to help you achieve your health goals with personalized care and expert advice.

We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of prescription weight loss pills. The best medication for you is the one that fits your lifestyle and health needs. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.

Thank you for choosing Westmont Pharmacy. We’re committed to helping you achieve a healthier, happier life.