Do Weight Loss Pills Work?

Do Weight Loss Pills Work?

Staff Writer
7 minute read

Gaining excess and unhealthy weight can pose challenges. Everyone aspires to have a fit and healthy body. With numerous weight loss methods available, opting for weight loss pills emerges as a convenient approach for faster weight loss. Yet, you may find yourself questioning the effectiveness of these pills: "Do weight loss pills work?"

If you are planning to lose weight using weight loss pills, this post will help you uncover the following details:

  • What are weight loss pills?

  • The different types of weight loss pills

  • Do weight loss pills work?

  • How do weight loss pills work?

  • Are weight loss pills safe?

What Are Weight Loss Pills?

Weight loss pills are often called diet pills or anti-obesity drugs. The primary purpose of these weight loss supplements is to reduce appetite and food cravings. In other words, weight loss pills can help you control hunger and minimize calorie intake. So, the fewer calories your body consumes than you burn, the more pounds you can shed. 

Weight loss pills may contain a variety or combination of ingredients such as fiber, herbs, and minerals. The common ingredients in weight loss supplements are African mango, Beta-glucans, caffeine, calcium, capsaicin, carnitine, chromium, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), fucoxanthin, garcinia Cambogia, glucomannan, green tea, and green tea extract, probiotics, or pyruvate.

FDA Approved Short Term Weight Loss Drugs

  • Lorcaserin (Belviq)    

  • Phentermine (Adipex-P, Fastin)

FDA Approved Long Term Weight Loss Drugs

  • Phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia) 

  • Naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave) 

  • Liraglutide (Saxenda) 

Do Weight Loss Pills Actually Work?

Weight loss pills help treat obesity, but they are not the magic bullet that lets you reduce pounds with less effort. You have to be aware that weight loss pills are formulated to address every person's need to lose weight. In fact, only a few can say that using weight loss pills is the best and most effective to reduce some extra pounds.  

It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any weight loss pill regimen to ensure it is safe and suitable for your specific needs. Remember, sustainable weight loss requires a holistic approach that combines various healthy habits for long-term success.

How Do Weight Loss Pills Work?

Manufacturers of weight loss pills often make claims about the effectiveness of their products in promoting weight loss. Here are a few mechanisms by which weight loss pills are said to work:

  • Blocking Fat or Carbohydrate Absorption: Some weight loss pills are designed to inhibit the absorption of dietary fats or carbohydrates in the body. By doing so, they aim to reduce the overall calorie intake and promote weight loss.
  • Appetite Suppression: Certain weight loss pills are formulated to help curb your appetite, leading to a decreased desire to eat. By reducing calorie consumption, these pills may contribute to weight loss efforts.
  • Metabolism Boost: Another approach taken by weight loss pills is to increase the body's metabolic rate. By speeding up the metabolism, these pills claim to help burn calories more efficiently, potentially aiding in weight loss.

It's important to note that individual responses to weight loss pills may vary, and their effectiveness is not guaranteed for everyone. Moreover, they are expensive, and some of these products can interact or interfere with medications and or cause harm to your health.

Who Should Use Weight Loss Pills?

Weight loss pills are typically recommended for individuals who fall into the following categories:

  • Individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 30.0: Weight loss pills are often considered for those who have a BMI of 30.0 or higher, which is classified as obese. These pills may provide additional support in their weight loss journey alongside lifestyle changes.
  • People with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 27 and medical problems linked to obesity: In some cases, weight loss pills may be prescribed to individuals with a BMI greater than 27 who also have obesity-related medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. The pills may assist in managing these conditions by aiding in weight loss.

Talk to your healthcare provider before popping a weight loss pill. This is necessary, especially for individuals that have hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, or other medical conditions.

Are Weight Loss Pills Safe?

After addressing the question "Do weight loss pills work?", another important consideration arises: "Are weight loss pills safe?"

Don't be surprised to discover that manufacturers of weight loss pills rarely carry out studies on people to see the effectiveness and safety of their formula. If there are, these are more likely short-term studies done on a small number of people who used their product. We recommend that you choose a reputable weight loss pill manufacturer who has conducted a large long-term study on its safety and effectiveness. 

Some of these weight loss pills may be safe to some extent. Always bear in mind that overdosing and taking unprescribed pills weight loss pills can lead to a variety of medical complications. Plus, weight loss pills might counter the effect of other medications you are taking. 

According to a 2014 study, about 2500 people were given the target to shed 30 pounds in a year. Can you imagine that there were only 4% of them who chose to do it through diet pills? When asked why they chose a workout and weight loss meal plan rather than pills, they explained that they were distrustful of its effectiveness and that it might even lead to unwanted side effects. 

Final Thoughts

Weight loss pills are safe as long as they are taken under the supervision of your physician or dietitian. Again, it is not for anyone who simply wants to lose weight. 

Remember that the best and proven ways to lose weight are to eat various healthy foods, reduce calorie consumption, and stay physically active. 

Be skeptical about weight loss pills being labeled as "magic diet pills," "melt away fat," and "lose excess pounds without diet or exercise. Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is (or not at all). Some products may not even help you lose weight and could be dangerous to your health. 


How fast do water pills work for weight loss?

The speed at which water pills (diuretics) work for weight loss can vary depending on the individual and the specific product used. Water pills primarily help to reduce excess water retention in the body rather than burning fat. While they may result in temporary weight loss, it is important to note that this weight loss is typically due to water loss and not fat loss.

Can a 14-year-old take weight loss pills?

It is generally not recommended for young individuals, including 14-year-olds, to take weight loss pills without proper medical supervision. Weight loss pills can have specific dosage requirements and potential side effects that may not be suitable for adolescents. It is advisable for young individuals to focus on adopting a balanced and healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet, to manage weight in a safe and sustainable manner. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before considering any weight loss interventions for teenagers.

What are the side effects of weight loss pills?

The side effects of weight loss pills can vary depending on the specific medication and individual factors. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, and dry mouth. Some weight loss pills may also have more serious side effects, such as liver damage or mood changes. It is essential to carefully read the product information and consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough understanding of potential side effects before starting any weight loss pill regimen.

How do I ask my doctor for weight loss pills?

If you are considering weight loss pills and believe they may be suitable for your circumstances, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. During the appointment, openly discuss your weight loss goals and concerns. Your doctor will evaluate your overall health, medical history, and any pre-existing conditions to determine the appropriateness and safety of weight loss pills for you. They can provide personalized guidance, recommend specific medications if appropriate, and monitor your progress to ensure your weight loss journey is both effective and safe.

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