Weight Loss Pills: How Effective Are They?

Losing weight is a concern for millions of people across the world, and this is why there is a whole industry dedicated to the issue. These range from diet plans to exercise programs and everything in between. Recently, weight loss medication has become at the center of attention due to the popularity of Ozempic on social media. Originally meant to be a diabetic medication, Ozempic, and a similar drug, Wegovy, have become effective ways for people to slow their appetite and lose weight. With this increasing demand, it’s good to explore how weight loss pills work and how effective they can be.

How do weight loss pills work?

Given the promising nature of these medications, many are right to ask if medical weight loss pills, such as Naltrexone-Bupropion and Orlistat, work? Most weight loss medication work by stimulating the central nervous system to suppress appetite— reducing cravings, and increasing feelings of fullness. There are also a few pills that don’t affect appetite. In the case of Orlistat (Xenical, Alli), it is a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor that limits the absorption of dietary fats.

The effectiveness of these pills highly depends on the person. Factors such as gut physiology, stress levels, blood sugar, and much more can affect the rate at which they lose weight. To maximize results, it’s essential for people taking medication to adopt healthy behaviors to support weight loss, like exercise and a nutritious diet. As found in research on a new anti-obesity medication of almost 16 months, along with some lifestyle changes, can reduce body weight by at least 20% in more than one-third of the participants.

Are weight loss pills safe?

Weight loss pills today tend to only have mild side effects, such as nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. If you’re experiencing anything unusual with your pills, make sure to consult your doctor.

However, beware of dietary supplements and pills that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve specifically weight-loss, as they may carry unintended biological effects. For instance, Mehmet Oz promoted during “The Dr. Oz Show” the use of “human chorionic gonadotropin,” or HCG, for weight loss. But in fact, this drug does not cause weight loss, fat redistribution, or suppress hunger. These effects are worsened when partnered with an HCG diet, as it severely restricts people’s calorie intake.

Who should consider taking anti-obesity medications?

Prescribing weight loss medications depends on your health status. As a general rule, these pills are available to patients who have:

  • A body mass index (BMI) greater than 30;
  • BMI greater than 27, and a medical condition linked to obesity, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.If your weight is severely impacting your daily life and diet and exercise are not making any changes, it’s good to consult a doctor for anti-obesity medications fit for you. Do note that not everyone can take these drugs, such as mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How accessible are weight loss drugs?

Despite the benefits, not many people are able to use these medications. One of the biggest hurdles is the cost, as drugs like Wegovy cost around $1,300 a month, and most insurance doesn’t cover it. Unfortunately, insurance companies push back against coverage as they consider obesity not as a disease but as a behavioral problem.

Furthermore, some pharmacies are facing drug shortages. As mentioned earlier, social media has spiked demand for these prescriptions, making it difficult to get these pills as a new patient. This can be problematic overall since users can see weight regain after stopping the medication.

Weight loss pills are effective ways to lose weight. However, you shouldn’t rely on them alone or see them as a short-term solution. These pills serve as a tool for overcoming weight loss struggles, and it’s best to combine these with healthy habits to see results in the long run.

We have more articles on weight loss and dieting that can help you. For example, if you are exercising and not getting any thinner, you may be asking yourself why am I losing inches but not weight? Do read our post for detailed answers that can guide you.