10 Drugs That Make You Lose Weight

drugs that make you lose weight

We live in a world where many are searching for the key to healthy living and ways to lose weight. But did you know that some drugs can help you in this journey?

With the increasing number of obesity cases worldwide, weight loss medications have become a popular choice for those wanting to shed pounds. These medications promise effective weight loss results, but what are they? And how do they work?

Dive into this article to discover ten drugs that make you lose weight. Understand their mechanisms, benefits, and potential risks. Equip yourself with the knowledge to make an informed decision about your health.

1. Orlistat (Alli, Xenical)

Orlistat functions as a lipase inhibitor. It prevents certain fat-dissolving enzymes in the digestive system from breaking down and assimilating a portion of the fat found in the food you consume. 

As a result, this unabsorbed fat exits the body through fecal matter rather than being stored.


Orlistat has been widely recognized for its effectiveness in promoting weight loss. When taken as prescribed, it can enhance weight loss results, especially when used with a well-balanced, reduced-calorie diet

Some studies have shown that Orlistat can be beneficial in reducing blood pressure and preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes in obese individuals. This observation makes it not only a tool for weight loss but also for promoting overall health.


While Orlistat can be beneficial, it has potential side effects. Users may experience increased bowel movements, gas, and oily stool. The undigested fat that exits the body can sometimes lead to urgent or hard-to-control bowel movements. 

Users need to understand that taking Orlistat requires a commitment to a healthy diet. Consuming high-fat meals while on Orlistat can exacerbate digestive side effects. 

Due to the drug also reducing the absorption of some fat-soluble vitamins, users might need to take vitamin supplements to ensure they are getting the necessary nutrients.

2. Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)

Qsymia is a unique combination of two drugs: phentermine and topiramate. 

Phentermine is a well-known appetite suppressant that belongs to the class of amphetamines. It affects the central nervous system to reduce hunger. 

Topiramate also curbs the appetite and gives a sense of fullness. Together, these drugs work synergistically to reduce food intake by making individuals feel satiated with less food.


Qsymia stands out as one of the most powerful weight loss medications today. Clinical studies have demonstrated its efficacy in producing significant weight loss. 

Its dual-action formula not only suppresses appetite but also helps control binge eating behaviors.


Like all medications, Qsymia comes with its set of potential side effects. One of the primary concerns is its ability to cause an elevated heart rate.

An elevated heart rate can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues in predisposed individuals. 

Other potential side effects include insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, and tingling in the hands or feet. 

Due to its amphetamine component, there’s a risk of dependency. Patients need to be under regular medical supervision while on this medication. 

It’s also worth noting that Qsymia can lead to congenital disabilities and should not be taken by pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant.

3. Buproprion-Naltrexone (Contrave)

Contrave is a combination of two drugs, bupropion and naltrexone

Bupropion, commonly known as an antidepressant and smoking cessation aid, has appetite-reducing properties. 

Naltrexone, used for treating opioid and alcohol dependence, aids in curbing food cravings. 

Combined, these two drugs act on the central nervous system, targeting the brain’s hunger and reward centers. This dual action not only reduces appetite but also helps dampen the pleasure derived from eating, making high-calorie, rewarding foods less appealing.


Contrave’s primary strength lies in its ability to combat persistent food cravings. Cravings for sugary, fatty, or unhealthy foods are a significant hindrance to weight loss.


Contrave does come with potential side effects such as nausea, constipation, headaches, and insomnia. Because bupropion is involved, there’s a risk of mood changes, including increased anxiety or depressive symptoms. 

So, users must maintain open communication with their healthcare provider about any emotional or psychological shifts they experience while on the medication.

4. Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Liraglutide, marketed as Saxenda for weight loss, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. This means that it mimics the action of GLP-1, a hormone naturally produced in the intestines. 

After eating, GLP-1 is released and acts on the brain, signaling satiety or a feeling of fullness. By replicating this hormone’s effects, Liraglutide ensures that individuals feel full faster and for longer periods.


Saxenda has shown significant efficacy in weight loss. Clinical trials have demonstrated that, when combined with a low-calorie diet and regular physical activity, Liraglutide can lead to substantial weight loss compared to diet and exercise alone. 


While Liraglutide presents promising benefits, it has its potential drawbacks. One of the primary concerns is its association with pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, which can be severe and require hospitalization. Symptoms might include intense abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. 

It’s crucial for individuals taking Liraglutide to be aware of these symptoms and seek medical attention if they arise. Other side effects can include nausea and diarrhea.

As with all weight loss medications, patients need to be under consistent medical supervision while using Saxenda to monitor for any adverse effects.

5. Phentermine

Phentermine is a stimulant of the central nervous system that affects the neurotransmitters in the brain. Furthermore, it increases the release of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, which play a crucial role in hunger and satiety signals. 

By doing so, phentermine suppresses appetite. This appetite suppression makes individuals feel less hungry and more satiated after smaller meals.


Phentermine has been used for decades and is approved for short-term weight loss. It is effective in helping individuals jumpstart their weight loss journey and provide initial results that can motivate sustained behavioral changes. 

Its rapid action can lead to notable weight loss in a matter of weeks, making it a preferred choice for those seeking immediate results.


Despite its efficacy, phentermine does come with several potential side effects and risks. Phentermine can increase blood pressure and heart rate, making regular monitoring vital, especially in individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions. 

Because it affects neurotransmitter levels, phentermine has the potential for dependency and may lead to withdrawal symptoms if stopped. 

Other common side effects include dry mouth, insomnia, constipation, and mood changes. Given its potential for addiction, it’s prescribed for short durations, such as a few weeks. Users should be under consistent medical supervision during its use.

6. Benzphetamine (Regimex)

Benzphetamine, marketed as Regimex, functions as an anorectic designed to suppress appetite. It belongs to the sympathomimetic amines class of drugs, which work on the central nervous system. 

By stimulating the release and blocking the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly norepinephrine, Benzphetamine curbs hunger sensations, making individuals feel full with less food intake.


Regimex is used for short-term weight loss regimens, assisting individuals in achieving initial weight loss goals. This can benefit those looking to jumpstart a more comprehensive weight loss plan. 

When combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, Benzphetamine can lead to significant weight reductions in a short period.


Benzphetamine has a potential for dependency. It can affect the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to potential withdrawal symptoms if discontinued. 

Users might experience side effects typical of stimulant medications, such as elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, insomnia, and jitteriness. 

Monitoring and regular check-ins with a healthcare provider are essential to ensure the safe and effective use of this medication.

Please note that residents in and around the Phoenix area can find specialized addiction care at the Purpose Healing Center’s Phoenix location.

7. Diethylpropion

Diethylpropion functions as an anorectic or appetite suppressant. It belongs to the class of drugs known as sympathomimetic amines. This drug acts on the central nervous system, mainly the brain. 

Diethylpropion promotes the release of certain neurotransmitters like norepinephrine. 

This action effectively reduces hunger sensations, leading individuals to feel satiated with less food and thus reducing overall caloric intake.


Diethylpropion has proven to be helpful in the short-term treatment of obesity. This can provide individuals with a motivating start, making it easier to adhere to long-term healthy living habits.


One of the primary concerns with Diethylpropion is its potential effect on cardiovascular health. The drug can lead to an elevated heart rate and increased blood pressure in some individuals. Regular monitoring is crucial for those with pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors. 

Other potential side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, insomnia, and irritability. Like other appetite suppressants of its class, there’s a risk of dependency.

8. Phendimetrazine

Phendimetrazine is an anorectic agent that functions as an appetite suppressant. Its primary action is on the central nervous system. 

By influencing the brain’s neurotransmitter levels, such as norepinephrine, Phendimetrazine curbs the sensations of hunger. 


Phendimetrazine is recommended for short-term use as part of a broader weight-loss strategy encompassing dietary changes, exercise, and behavioral modifications. When incorporated into such a program, it can provide a substantial boost during the initial stages.


Phendimetrazine also carries a potential for dependency. This risk is due to its impact on neurotransmitter balances in the brain, 

Other potential side effects may include insomnia, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dry mouth, and jitteriness. 

9. Metformin

Metformin is recognized as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. Its central action is to enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. By improving insulin sensitivity, cells can better use glucose from the bloodstream. 

Metformin acts on the liver, reducing its production of glucose. These combined actions help maintain stable blood sugar levels.


Beyond its primary role in diabetes management, Metformin has been observed to lead to weight loss in some individuals. 

This weight loss is believed to result from a combination of factors, including reduced appetite, improved metabolic rate, and alterations in gut microbiota. 

While not prescribed as a weight loss drug, many individuals with type 2 diabetes on Metformin therapy report moderate weight reduction as a beneficial side effect.


While Metformin is well-tolerated, it does come with a set of potential side effects. Common complaints include nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and a metallic taste in the mouth. 

These side effects are more prevalent when starting the medication and often diminish over time. Start with a low dose of Metformin and gradually increase as tolerated. 

10. Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon)

Exenatide, available under the brand names Byetta and Bydureon, is an injectable medication designed to manage blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

These drugs mimic the effects of the natural hormone GLP-1. This hormone is responsible for increasing insulin secretion in response to food intake. 

It slows the emptying of the stomach, reducing glucose production by the liver. These combined actions lead to improved blood sugar control after meals.


An intriguing and beneficial side effect observed in many individuals treated with Exenatide is weight loss. This is believed to result from the slowed gastric emptying and an enhanced feeling of fullness that the medication promotes, leading to reduced food intake. 

While Exenatide is not prescribed solely for weight loss, the added benefit of potential weight reduction makes it an attractive option for many type 2 diabetes patients struggling with obesity.


Exenatide users might encounter some side effects with digestive issues. These can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and potential acid reflux. 

Many of these symptoms diminish as the body gets accustomed to the medication.

Making the Right Choice With Drugs That Make You Lose Weight

In the journey to achieving a healthier lifestyle and weight, there are many paths and tools at our disposal. While drugs that make you lose weight can offer promising results, it’s essential to approach them with informed caution. 

Are you seeking recovery and wellness support in Scottsdale? Purpose Healing Center in Scottsdale is available to guide you. We are a drug addiction treatment, rehab, and recovery facility that accepts most major insurance plans, including AHCCCS.

Reach out to us today, and let’s embark on a journey to recovery together.