If you’re searching for a great weight loss pill one of the first things you may notice is that today’s market is divided into 2 different categories: prescription diet pills and non-prescription, or over-the-counter diet pills.
Is there a difference and if one diet pill is deemed ‘by prescription only’, does that automatically make it better? We’ll answer that here and tell you what you need to know about prescription weight loss pills.
Prescription diet pills are not to be taken lightly. They are not supplements but rather actual medication that can seriously harm you if not taken properly. These types of diet pills are generally reserved for those who have serious weight issues that are affecting their overall health. Obesity is a very serious medical condition that can be treated with prescription diet pills.
Generally the people that require prescription diet pills are those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher with no obesity-related issues; or those with a BMI or 27 or higher combined with obesity-related issues.
It’s very important to remember that although prescription diet pills are powerful drugs, they are not the only answer to your weight loss problems and they will not work effectively if you do not combine them with a proper diet and regular exercise. No diet pill, prescription or not, will work the way you want it to if you rely solely on that to solve your weight problems.
Among prescription diet pills, there are 2 main types: appetite suppressants and fat absorption inhibitors.
Appetite Suppressants – These are the most common form of prescription diet pills. They work by changing the hormones in your brain, usually by increasing the levels of serotonin or catecholamine. Doing this tricks your brain into telling the stomach that you are full even when you’ve only eaten a small amount. There are many prescription appetite suppressants on the market. The most common are: Didrex, Tenuate, Sanorex, Mazanor, Adipex-P, Lonamin, Bontril, and Meridia.
Xenical is the only fat absorption inhibitor that has been approved for use as a prescription diet pill. Xenical works by not allowing your body to absorb and store fat, usually by making the fat molecules much too large for your body to absorb. Xenical is the most recent prescription diet pill to be approved.
But no matter what type of prescription diet pill you’re considering, the most important thing you want to know is if it will work.
Prescription diet pills, like all medication, work differently for every person that uses them. This means that while one person may experience very drastic weight loss, someone else may not see much of a difference at all.
Meridia and Xenical are two known prescription diet pills that are thought to be only moderately effective, with an average weight loss of 5-22 pounds over a 1-year period for users. Because these results are not much more significant than if you had only used a proper diet and regular exercise, these drugs may not seem worthwhile but again, results will vary for everyone.
One of the reasons that results are so varied among users is because there is no correct dosage for these pills. If your doctor decides that you would benefit from prescription weight loss pills, he will also determine an amount that would be safe and effective for you based on your medical history and your response to medication.
The amount of weight you hope to lose should generally be achieved within 6 months of taking the diet pills.
Short-term use of prescription diet pills hasn’t shown to have any negative effects however they have not been tested for long-term use and so using them for extended periods of time is not recommended.
Even taking diet pills short-term has some risks, the two main ones being addiction and becoming tolerant to the drug.
- Addiction – The only prescription diet pill that is not considered to be a controlled substance is Xenical. This means that all others are addictive and require a doctor’s careful monitoring and care.
- Tolerance – Some claim that they become so tolerant of prescription diet pills that they stop losing weight after 6 months of use. When your body becomes tolerant to a drug, it simply becomes accustomed to it and the drug stops taking effect. Whether this effect stops working after 6 months due to tolerance or because the pill has simply reached its capacity is unknown.
Many prescription diet pills have side effects that accompany the drug. Most of these are usually mild but still unpleasant. Some of the side effects you may experience when taking prescription diet pills are:
- increased heart rate
- increased blood pressure
- excessive thirst
- stuffy nose
- dry mouth
Often side effects will become less frequent or less intense as your body adjusts to the medication however in some cases side effects can be very serious and sometimes, although rare, they can be fatal. Some medications are also known to be more prone to certain side effects than others. Here are some common medications and the most common side effects associated with them:
- Xenical (Orlistat): Abdominal cramping; flatulence; oily stool; frequent bowel movements that you have little control over.
- Meridia (Sibutramine): Increased blood pressure; headaches; insomnia; constipation. Meridia should also not be taken by people who suffer from the following conditions: uncontrolled high blood pressure; heart disease; irregular heartbeat; or history of stroke.
- Adipex-P (Phentermine): Nervousness; sleeplessness; mood changes.
Because prescription diet pills are such powerful drugs they are not recommended for long-term use.
Because of this it’s very important to change your eating habits and your lifestyle during the time the pills are the most effective so these new good habits can be carried over into your life when it’s time to stop using the pills.
It’s also important to begin these new routines because no diet pill will work if you don’t eat properly and start exercising.
Prescription diet pills can also cause serious health risks because they are so powerful. Because of this, people with certain medical conditions should not take them. They can also cause other problems, such as addiction so they need to be taken only under a doctor’s care.
If possible, all-natural diet pills (such as UniqueHoodia appetite suppressant) are generally preferred to prescription diet pills because they will cause less harm (if any) to your body.