What Drugs Make You Lose Weight?

what drugs make you lose weight

Have you ever wondered, “What drugs make you lose weight?” Many seek solutions for shedding those extra pounds, especially when traditional methods fall short. 

With the new year swiftly approaching, you might look for ways to lose weight and start afresh. As you scroll through countless internet pages, you might be bombarded with the latest weight loss trends. 

But what are the scientifically-backed, effective medications that support weight loss? Dive deep into this article to discover the answer, ensuring you choose the safest options.

Understanding Weight Loss Medications

It’s crucial to grasp that there’s no magic pill for weight loss. The journey to losing weight combines a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. 

Yet, even after pursuing these measures, weight loss remains elusive for some. That’s where weight loss medications come into the picture.

Orlistat (Alli, Xenical)

Orlistat, available under the brand names Alli (over-the-counter) and Xenical (prescription), is a popular weight loss medication that functions uniquely compared to other drugs. 

Instead of influencing appetite or metabolism directly, Orlistat targets the digestive system, specifically the enzymes responsible for breaking down fats.

How Does It Work?

When you consume foods that contain fats, enzymes in your digestive system break down these fats so they can be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Orlistat inhibits some of these enzymes, preventing the complete digestion of dietary fats. As a result, approximately 25% to 30% of the fat you consume passes through the digestive system and is excreted in the feces without being absorbed.

This reduced caloric intake, combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, can aid in achieving notable weight loss.

Who Can Use Orlistat?

While Alli is available without a prescription, consulting a healthcare professional before starting its regimen is crucial. 

Orlistat is prescribed to individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30 or those with a BMI over 27 who also have other risk factors, such as hypertension or diabetes.

Potential Side Effects

The primary mechanism of Orlistat, which prevents fat absorption, also causes its most common side effects. These gastrointestinal-related issues include:

  • Bloody or black stool
  • Urgent or increased bowel movements
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain

Because Orlistat reduces the absorption of some fat-soluble vitamins and beta-carotene, it’s recommended that users take a daily multivitamin supplement.

Phentermine-Topiramate (Qsymia)

Phentermine-Topiramate, commonly known by its brand name Qsymia, is a combination medication that has garnered attention in weight loss drugs. 

As a blend of two pre-existing drugs, each with its own mechanism of action, Qsymia offers a dual approach to weight management. 

Below is an in-depth examination of this medication, its workings, benefits, and potential concerns.


Phentermine works by stimulating the release of brain chemicals that regulate appetite. This makes the individual feel less hungry. It’s part of a class of drugs known as anorectics.


Originally used as an anticonvulsant for conditions like epilepsy and to prevent migraines, topiramate’s weight loss properties were discovered later. It’s believed to make people feel full and decrease the taste sensation, making food less appealing. 

This combination helps users reduce food intake and feel full faster, which reduces calorie consumption.

Who Can Benefit from Qsymia?

Adults and children ages 12 and older can use this prescription drug. Qsymia is prescribed for individuals who either have:

  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more, which categorizes them as obese
  • A BMI of 27 or above and with at least one weight-related health condition, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol

Users should always combine Qsymia intake with a balanced diet and exercise program for optimal results.

Potential Concerns and Side Effects

While Qsymia can be effective in weight loss, it’s not without its drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Pain in the back, neck, muscles, arms or legs
  • Painful menstrual periods

While promising in its results, potential users must be aware of its side effects and consult with healthcare professionals to determine the right choice for their needs.

Naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave)

In weight loss medications, Naltrexone-bupropion, marketed under Contrave, stands out due to its unique approach to curbing appetite and promoting weight loss. 

Unlike other medications focusing primarily on metabolic rates or digestive processes, Contrave zeroes in on the brain’s intricate pathways. 

Here’s a closer look at how this drug works, its benefits, and the associated side effects.


Historically used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence, naltrexone interferes with the brain pathways that release the “feel-good” chemicals during substance use. 

This property reduces food cravings, especially for those high in sugar and fat.


Initially an antidepressant, bupropion can aid in weight loss by acting on norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmitters. It’s believed to help in suppressing appetite and increasing energy expenditure.

When combined, naltrexone and bupropion offer a two-pronged approach: 

  • Reducing the pleasure of eating certain foods (naltrexone)
  • Suppressing appetite (bupropion).

Suitability for Users

Individuals ages 18 and older may use Contrave. It is prescribed for the following:

  • Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above (indicating obesity)
  • Those with a BMI of 27 or higher also suffer from at least one weight-related condition like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol

Potential Side Effects

Contrave has been effective for many in their weight loss journey. But, it’s essential to be aware of the potential side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Skin reactions
  • Strange taste in mouth
  • Dry mouth

Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Liraglutide is marketed under the brand name Saxenda. It’s an innovative medication that has emerged as a valuable tool in weight management. 

Unlike many traditional weight loss drugs, Saxenda’s approach revolves around mimicking a natural hormone’s functions in our body. 

Liraglutide replicates the functions of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone plays a pivotal role in regulating our appetite:

Appetite Suppression

The intestines secrete GLP-1 in response to food intake and signal the brain to induce a feeling of satiety or fullness. By mimicking this hormone, Saxenda tricks the brain into feeling full, reducing overall food intake.

Glycemic Control

Apart from appetite regulation, GLP-1 analogs like Liraglutide can also assist in maintaining blood sugar levels. This makes it beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes.

Who Can Benefit From Saxenda?

Children and adults may use Saxenda. It is prescribed for the following:

  • Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more indicate obesity
  • Individuals with a BMI of 27 or above also have weight-related medical problems, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, or type 2 diabetes
  • Children between the ages of 12 and 17 who weigh more than 132 pounds (60 kg) and are diagnosed with obesity can use this to assist in their weight-loss efforts

Potential Side Effects

Saxenda offers a novel approach to weight loss and has benefited many. But you must be aware of its potential side effects:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach (dyspepsia)
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Injection site reaction
  • Low blood sugar
  • Change in enzyme levels in your blood

Semaglutide (Wegovy)

Weight management medications have seen significant advancements in recent years. Semaglutide, branded as Wegovy, is emerging as a noteworthy addition. 

Wegovy offers a fresh perspective on appetite regulation and glucose management. It is distinct from conventional weight loss drugs.

Mechanism of Action

Semaglutide is an analog of the naturally occurring hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). The role of GLP-1 in the body is multifaceted. 

But its most prominent functions relevant to weight loss include several things.

Appetite Regulation

GLP-1 is secreted in the intestines in response to food and communicates with the brain to generate feelings of fullness. Wegovy amplifies the satiety signals by mimicking this hormone, reducing caloric intake.

Blood Sugar Control

GLP-1 analogs, including Semaglutide, are pivotal in stabilizing blood sugar levels. This is done by promoting insulin secretion and slowing gastric emptying. 

The dual action not only aids in weight loss but also benefits individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Who Is Wegovy Suitable For?

The age range begins at 12 years old. Wegovy is prescribed for the following:

  • Individuals having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more signify obesity
  • Individuals with a BMI of 27 or higher also grapple with weight-related health issues, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol

Consistent with other weight management solutions, combining Wegovy intake with a wholesome diet and regular exercise often yields the most substantial results.

Potential Side Effects

Wegovy offers a unique and impactful method for weight management. However, users must be aware of its potential side effects.

  • Experiencing a bloated or full sensation
  • Stomach pain due to gas accumulation
  • Frequent belching
  • Excessive air or gas within the digestive tract
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Discomfort in the stomach region
  • Regular episodes of passing gas
  • Occurrence of recurring fever
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin+

Healthy Weight Loss Vs. Quick Fixes

When considering weight loss, the desire for immediate results often takes precedence. Quick fixes promise rapid weight shedding, making them tempting options for those eager to see instant changes. 

But while these methods might offer immediate results, they seldom lead to sustainable, long-term benefits.

A healthy weight loss strategy is rooted in patience and persistence, emphasizing enduring results over transient successes. 

This approach isn’t just about counting calories or following a strict diet for a few weeks; it’s about fostering a healthy lifestyle. 

There are critical elements of this lifestyle to consider.

Balanced Meals

Eating balanced meals isn’t about deprivation but about nourishing the body with the proper nutrients. It’s about understanding the body’s needs and ensuring it gets a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Consuming a diverse range of foods can support overall health, boost energy levels, and bolster the body’s natural defense mechanisms. 

Also, balanced meals can promote better digestion and mood regulation and assist in maintaining an optimal weight range.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity is not only for burning calories; it’s for cardiovascular health, muscle strength, flexibility, and mental well-being.

Regular exercise can elevate your mood and boost your energy levels. Incorporating it into your daily routine can lead to a more balanced and healthier life.

Mental Health and Mindfulness

Recognizing the importance of mental well-being and managing stress are pivotal in a holistic approach to weight loss.

Mental clarity can influence our choices and actions. Practicing mindfulness can lead to better decision-making in our dietary habits.

Medications: A Tool, Not a Crutch

Medications for weight loss have made significant strides in recent years. They are adjuncts, tools to aid in the process, rather than being the sole solution. Depending solely on pills without incorporating a healthy lifestyle can diminish their efficacy.

As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Also, lasting weight loss and health transformations require time, commitment, and consistent effort. 

The journey may be longer, with a focus on healthy weight loss strategies. However, the destination is more fulfilling and sustainable than any quick fix could ever promise.

The Role of Purpose Healing Center

While the spotlight here is on weight loss medications, it’s essential to remember that drug and alcohol misuse can impact one’s weight and overall health. 

Substance abuse can lead to drastic weight fluctuations, malnutrition, and other health complications.

Purpose Healing Center offers solutions for those struggling with substance abuse issues. With services such as alcohol detox, drug rehab, drug detox, inpatient drug rehab, outpatient rehab, alcohol rehab, addiction recovery, and addiction treatment, the center focuses on holistic healing. 

Addressing the root cause of addiction can also indirectly support weight management as individuals embrace a healthier lifestyle during recovery.

What Drugs Make You Lose Weight? The Final Verdict

Various medications are available to assist with weight loss, making many ask, “What drugs make you lose weight?” While these drugs offer promising results, it’s vital to approach them with caution and always under a healthcare professional’s guidance.

As you embark on your weight loss journey, prioritize a balanced approach and focus on a healthy lifestyle.

If you or a loved one are facing addiction issues that impact weight or overall well-being, remember that help is at hand.

Purpose Healing Center stands ready to guide you toward recovery. Contact us for a free assessment and embark on your journey to a healthier future.