7 Best Over The Counter Weight Loss Pills That Actually Work

Do you want to lose weight? If you’ve been struggling, you’re not alone. After years of dieting and working out, we know you’re ready to make a change. But what’s the best way to lose body weight? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why we created compile all OTC weight loss pills that can help people of all shapes and sizes reach their weight loss goals.

If you’re like other women, you’ve been through every other possible method. You’ve tried dieting without exercise, going on a healthy diet but not working out (and vice versa), and even going on a juice cleanse or eating nothing but kale and raw vegetables for days. But none of these methods work as well as they should. There’s a lot to love about diet pills, but the problem is they’re not all created equal. We’ve put together this list of the best over-the-counter weight loss pills.

We’ll help you find the right supplement for your needs by providing information on how each diet pill works, how much it costs, and where to buy it online.

Table of Contents

7 Best Over The Counter Weight Loss Pills in 2023

  1. PhenQ  – Best powerful weight support
  2. PhenGold – Best scientifically-backed ingredients
  3. Instant Knockout – Best weight loss supplement
  4. Trimtone – 100% fat-burning supplement
  5. Prime Shred – Best hardcore fat-burning supplements
  6. Burn Lab Pro – Best supplement for bodybuilding
  7. Physiqueseries Fat Burner – Best weight loss pill


Best over counter diet pill

PhenQ is a reputable weight loss supplement manufactured by Wolfson Berg Ltd. It’s a well-known UK-based and highly regarded for its amazing health and wellness supplements for over a decade.


13 vegan vitamins and minerals and 16 grams of whey protein.


One bag is equal to seven meals.


This product can be purchased directly from the PhenQ website or through other retailers at an affordable price of $20.95 for a one-time purchase or subscribe and save 10%.

How to use

Simply add one scoop to 10 to 14 oz. (300ml-400ml) of water or semi-skimmed milk in a shaker bottle. Shake well and enjoy immediately.


  • Improves mood and enhances energy levels
  • Fat burning
  • Appetite suppressant


  • A bit pricier 
  • Not suitable for pregnant women, nursing women, and people under 18 years of age. 
  • Results of PhenQ pills may vary from person to person depending on lifestyle and eating habits 


Best over counter diet pill

PhenGold is a natural weight loss supplement formulated to enhance the body’s natural fat-burning abilities. The supplement uses a blend of natural and clinically proven ingredients that address different factors contributing to healthy weight loss. These weight loss supplements contain active ingredients that boost the speed and efficiency of metabolism, activate fat-burning hormones, and help control hunger and cravings.


Green tea, green coffee bean extract, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, Rhodiola Rosea, Cayenne Pepper, Caffeine, DMAE, Vitamin B3, B6, and B12.


Each bottle of PhenGold fat burner consists of 90 easy-to-swallow capsules, which is enough for one month’s use.


Get a one-month supply at $59.99 per bottle. 

How to Use

Take three capsules daily, 20 minutes before having breakfast. Take it with a big glass of water to get the desired results. Make sure not to exceed three capsules, as it might lead to serious health issues. 


  • Natural fat burner
  • Enhances mood
  • Boosts metabolic health


  • May take two to three months to get visible results

Instant Knockout Cut

Best over counter diet pill

Instant Knockout Cut has been one of the best weight loss pills on the market for several years; it’s arguably one of the most recognizable fat burners in existence. If you are eager to learn more, this Instant Knockout Cut review contains everything you need to know.


Green tea extract, cayenne powder, black pepper extract, Caffeine Anhydrous, and Glucomannan.


120 capsules per box.


Get a one-month supply at $65 per bottle.

How to Use

Simply take one easy-to-swallow capsule four times a day.


  • Suppresses appetite
  • Burns fat
  • Lean muscle mass


  • Users should limit coffee intake 


Best over counter diet pill

This effective weight loss pill is USA-made and specifically designed for women who want to lose weight and stubborn fat. Trimtone supports those who would like some assistance, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, while helping them in their weight loss journey.


Green coffee bean extract, caffeine, grains of paradise, Glucomannan.


Each bottle of Trimtone contains 30 capsules, which will last you for 30 days.


Get a one-month supply at $49.99 per bottle.

How to Use

Take one capsule daily in the morning, 30 minutes before breakfast, with a full glass of water (8 ounces).


  • Burns fat
  • Stops food cravings
  • Natural ingredients


  • If you’re sensitive to caffeine or experience any adverse effects from these stimulants, Trimtone recommends limiting your consumption of caffeine.

Prime Shred

Best over counter diet pill

PrimeShred is a popular, highly potent fat burner scientifically formulated to burn fat and promote accelerated weight loss. PrimeShred converts even the most stubborn body fat into usable energy.


Cayenne pepper, caffeine, and green tea extract. 


Each tub contains 30 servings (90 capsules), lasting 30 days.


Get a one-month supply at $49.99 per bottle. 

How to Use

Take three PrimeShred capsules approximately 20 minutes before breakfast. You should take PrimeShred on both training and non-training days.


  • 100-day money-back guarantee
  • Helps reduce belly fat
  • Natural ingredients


  • Can be overstimulating due to the presence of caffeine

Burn Lab Pro

Best over counter diet pill

Burn Lab Pro is the world’s cleanest and most effective stim-free fat-burner. With Burn Lab Pro, you can finally get rid of those extra pounds and get into the shape you’ve always wanted.


Forselean, capsimax, HMB, Nutrigenesis, and Bioperine.


Each bottle contains 30 capsules.


Get a one-month supply at $59 per bottle. 

How to Use

For best results, take two capsules 15 mins before training.


  • 100% safe and all-natural fat burner
  • Risk-free 30-day trial
  • Simple ingredients and formula


  • Only available on the official website
  • Lacks vitamins of prescription weight loss pills

Physiqueseries Fat Burner

Best over counter diet pill

PhysiqueSeries Fat Burner by Transparent Labs is a thermogenic fat burner supplement designed to increase your metabolic rate. It aids fat loss, increases energy levels, improves focus, and reduces cravings. This weight loss pill contains green tea extract, which helps you lose belly fat, build muscle mass, and balance weight gain.


Forslean, green tea, L-tyrosine, L-theanine, and caffeine anhydrous.


Each bottle has 60 capsules.


This product can be purchased directly from the Transparent Lab website or through other retailers at an affordable price of $54.99 for a one-time purchase or $49.49 with a monthly subscription.

How to use

Take two capsules with 8-10 ounces of water twice daily, 30-60 minutes before meals.

Read more  18 Popular Weight Loss Medications and Supplements Reviewed


  • Helps you lose weight
  • Clean energy
  • Boosts metabolism


  • Not vegetarian
  • You may build a tolerance to some ingredients

Ranking Methodology for Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Pills

It is important to determine what weight loss supplement is right for you. There are two types of weight loss pills — prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) diet pills. Both drugs are a great way to manage weight and improve body mass index (BMI). They can help you shed pounds and keep them off for good! However, there’s more than one way to measure the effectiveness of these products. We’ve done our best to gather all the information on the best OTC diet pills in one place so you can decide what works best for you.


Reviews are an essential part of any product, and it is important to know how many reviews a product has received. While some may have only one or two negative comments, others may have hundreds! This will help you determine if this product would work well with your lifestyle and if taking weight loss supplements will benefit you in the long run.

Formula and dosages

Diet pills are a great way to help manage your weight, but there are some important things to consider before you purchase one. One of the most important things is to look for a diet pill with ingredients like green tea and caffeine. These can help you lose weight effectively because they’re natural ingredients proven to work over time.

You should also look for a diet pill with proper dosage levels so that it doesn’t cause any side effects or adverse reactions in your body. Ensure the number of active ingredients in each capsule matches the label. If there’s too much or too little of something, this could lead to health problems down the road!


Ask yourself these questions before taking weight loss supplements:

  • How many pills should you take per day?
  • How many servings are in each bottle, box, and case?


Always make sure weight loss pills are safe for you to use. Part of getting diet pills is checking whether they interact well with other medications or supplements. Make sure they are safe to take with food, water, and alcohol (in moderation).


The effectiveness of over-the-counter weight loss pills depends on several factors. These include:

  • How well the pill works to help you lose weight
  • How long it will take to see results
  • The number of people who have used this type of product and lost weight

Client Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is important because it illustrates whether customers like the product. It also shows the product’s efficacy, ease of use, and, most importantly, if it’s affordable. 


Some products are more expensive than others because they contain more or higher doses of certain ingredients. Additionally, prices may vary depending on where you buy your weight loss pills.

If you’re looking for an affordable option that still provides results while keeping your wallet happy, you might consider getting the best weight loss supplements mentioned above.


Highlighted comments make a brand stand out because they show customers trust the products. Highlighted comments should include important details like how to use and take the weight loss supplements, what you should expect, and how they will help you lose weight.

What to Look for in OTC Weight Loss Pills?

Weight loss pills can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. They can help you lose weight and keep it off, but they must be safe and effective. To find the best weight loss supplement, consider these factors:


Make sure to look for:

  • A money-back guarantee. This is a common feature of many OTC weight loss supplements, but it’s important to note that the amount refunded will vary depending on the product.
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee. This one goes hand-in-hand with our next point: customer service. Customer service should be second nature for any company selling OTC weight loss pills online. If something goes wrong during shipping or delivery of your order, contact customer support immediately so that they can rectify any issues as soon as possible! You don’t want them sending out defective products by accident.
  • Satisfaction guaranteed with no questions asked.

Quality of Ingredients

When choosing OTC weight loss pills, you should look for a product that uses natural and safe ingredients. These products should also be proven to help you lose weight. Products with scientific research backing them are also good because they show that the company’s claims are legitimate. You will want to make sure the product has an official website where you can learn more about what these pills actually do for your body and how long it takes for them to work effectively.


Transparency is the cornerstone of any weight loss program. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting and how much it will cost before buying it. If a company doesn’t list all ingredients on the website or tries to hide costs by including them in their price tag (like “free shipping”), it could be a red flag that something may not be right.

Brand Reputation

Brand reputation is the most crucial factor when purchasing weight loss pills. In general, you want to make sure that the brand you choose has a good reputation for customer service and quality control. If your product doesn’t work well or causes unexpected side effects, you’ll probably be unsatisfied with your purchase.

Price and discounts

Along with the brand’s reputation, be sure to consider the cost before making your decision. Some OTC brands offer discounts, which can be a good sign that they are confident in their products.

What Are OTC Weight Loss Pills?

OTC weight loss pills are any medication that you can buy without a prescription. They’re available in various forms, from pills to liquids to patches. The most common ones are diet pills, which help you lose weight by making your body think it’s fasting. They contain one or more ingredients shown in research studies to help lose weight by reducing appetite, managing hunger hormones, and boosting metabolism.

Diet pills are the most popular form of OTC weight loss pills because they have fewer side effects than other methods. Consider talking to your doctor before taking any type of weight loss pill.

Benefits of Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Pills

When it comes to losing weight, there are many different options. Some people choose to diet and exercise, while others take pills for weight loss. Here are the benefits of weight loss pills:

Suppresses appetite

Diet pills can control hunger or make you feel full faster on less food. As a result, you take in fewer calories and eliminate stubborn fat!

Boosts Metabolism

One of the most important benefits of over-the-counter weight loss pills is boosting metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy and uses it to perform all its functions, such as breathing and thinking. Boosting your metabolism can help you lose weight faster and ensures that you’re burning more calories than you take in each day.

Prevents Fat Absorption

Fat absorption is key to weight loss, which means using these pills can help burn fat. The fewer calories you intake, the less weight you’ll gain.

Supports Dieting Challenges

Burning fat is a real challenge in your weight loss journey. Over-the-counter pills help the weight loss process by breaking stored fat into energy and boosting metabolism for people looking to lose or maintain their current body weight.

Types of Weight Loss Pills 

There are many weight loss pills on the market that can help you lose weight. However, not all these pills work the same way. The following table lists different types of prescription and over-the-counter diet supplements.

Appetite Suppressants

Appetite suppressants are a type of supplement that can help you lose weight. These pills contain ingredients like caffeine and yohimbine, which increase energy while reducing appetite by increasing blood pressure and heart rate.

Keto diet pills

The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that has recently gained popularity. It involves eating foods with high amounts of fat and minimizing your intake of carbs. This lowers the amount of glucose (sugar) your body needs to function correctly, which can help you lose weight faster. Reducing your carb intake while increasing fat consumption with Keto diet pills helps boost energy levels, so you feel motivated enough to exercise regularly and eat healthy meals daily.

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Carb blockers

Carb blockers are weight loss supplements that block the absorption of carbohydrates. They come in pill form and can help you lose weight, but they also have other benefits.

Carb blockers help by slowing down the rate at which your body digests food, meaning it takes longer to feel full after eating a meal. This means that carb blockers may make it easier for you to eat fewer calories overall without feeling hungry or deprived — and this can lead to more effective long-term weight loss.

Metabolism boosters

Metabolism boosters are a type of diet pill that work by increasing your metabolism. Your metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy and uses it for everyday activities like breathing, moving around, and pumping blood to your heart.

With a high metabolism, you can burn calories more effectively than someone with a low one—so when you take a metabolism booster, you’ll lose weight faster than usual.

Thermogenic fat burners

Thermogenic fat burners are the most common type of weight loss pill. They work by increasing your metabolism and helping to burn calories, which in turn helps you lose weight. Thermogenic fat burners contain ingredients that increase your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories). These ingredients include caffeine, green tea extract, and green coffee bean extract.

Possible Side Effects of OTC Weight Loss Pills 

Weight loss pills are an excellent solution for those who want to lose weight but don’t want to go through the hassle of dieting or exercise. However, these supplements can have side effects that might not be so good for your body. Here are some potential side effects you should know about before taking OTC weight loss pills:


Bloating is a common side effect of weight loss pills. Bloating is caused by water retention, which can signify a more severe condition like heart disease or kidney disease. It also happens to some people who take certain medications, such as birth control pills or asthma inhalers.


Diarrhea is a common side effect of OTC weight loss pills. OTC weight loss pills can cause diarrhea, but other things like food poisoning or a virus can also cause it.

If you’re experiencing diarrhea, you should see your doctor right away. Diarrhea that lasts longer than two weeks may be treated with antibiotics because it could mean something more serious than an upset stomach.


Diet pills can cause insomnia.

Typically, insomnia is caused by a lack of sleep or a disrupted circadian rhythm. Diet pills do not provide enough of the right nutrients to help you feel well-rested and energized, so you may need extra sleep to feel like yourself again.

Caffeine is one ingredient that diet pills often contain. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause sleepiness when the stimulating effect starts to wear out. If you’re taking diet pills, try avoiding caffeine in the evening before bedtime so that your body has more time to rest and repair itself before falling asleep.


Gas is a common side effect of weight loss pills and can be quite bothersome. Gas causes bloating and abdominal discomfort, which can make you feel unwell.

Oily stools

Oily stools are a common side effect of weight loss pills. They’re usually the result of taking a pill that increases your digestive enzymes, which break down fat and cause the body to release more oil into your intestines.

Nausea or dizziness

Nausea and dizziness are common side effects of OTC weight loss pills. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.


Constipation is a common side effect of OTC weight loss pills. This is because the pills can cause you to lose a lot of water weight, which can lead to your body holding on to water.


One of the most common side effects of weight loss pills is headaches. Headaches can be a symptom of taking any medication, so it’s important to remember that if you’re experiencing headaches while on this medication, they may be due to something else entirely.


Vomiting is one of the most common side effects of OTC weight loss pills. Vomiting can be from an allergic reaction, which means that your body is reacting to something it doesn’t like.

Common Ingredients in OTC Weight Loss Pills

The most common (and likely the most effective) ingredients in OTC weight loss pills are cayenne pepper, caffeine, green tea extract, and green coffee bean extract. These natural ingredients have been used for thousands of years to help people lose weight. They work by increasing metabolism and your body’s ability to burn fat.

Comparing Best Over The Counter Weight Loss Pills


This dietary supplement is perfect for women who want to shed excess fat. It replaces one full meal with different flavors like chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, and strawberry ice cream. It equates to a complete meal and is the only fat-burning dessert formula!


This supplement speeds up weight loss naturally with its multi-action formula. It has clinically proven ingredients that help burn fat while building muscle mass. It is a natural appetite suppressant that curbs food cravings and enables you to stop snacking.

Instant Knockout Cut

Instant Knockout Cut was developed to help professional boxers and MMA fighters lose weight before a big fight. It utilizes the latest weight-loss technology to produce a supplement for professional athletes worldwide.


Trimtone is perfect for women trying to lose weight. It is a 100% natural fat burner made from natural ingredients. This one-a-day formula promotes fat loss and helps you reach your health and fitness goals. 


This is a hardcore fat burner that increases thermogenesis, supports metabolism, and improves energy and focus. Primeshred advertises jaw-dropping results or your money back. It’s a three-stage approach to fat loss, helping you quickly and effectively achieve your lean physique goals.

BurnLab Pro

BurnLab Pro is for competitive women who want to achieve their fitness goals. It is 100% safe, natural, stim-free, vegan, and easy to use. It helps you retain muscle mass in a calorie deficit, get your workouts done, and stick to your diet.

Physiqueseries Fat Burner

This fat burner is a metabolic booster and appetite suppressant. It provides clean, jitter-free energy and naturally suppresses appetite so you can stay in an energy deficit. This is perfect for women who want to keep fit, stay healthy, and enhance focus throughout the day.

Best Over The Counter Weight Loss Pills FAQs 

Are over-the-counter weight loss pills safe?

Yes, OTC weight loss pills are safe when used as directed. Most of these products will not cause any side effects and are safe for most people without any significant issues.

What is a good over-the-counter appetite suppressant?

Appetite suppressants and weight loss pills like PhenQ, PhenGold, Leanbean, Trimtone, and Instant Knockout Cut are great options. 

Are over-the-counter weight loss pills FDA-approved?

No, the FDA does not approve or regulate over-the-counter weight loss pills. This means that manufacturers of your pill can make whatever claims they want regarding the product’s efficacy, as long as they’re not false or misleading.

Do I need to consult a doctor while using diet pills?

Yes, you should consult a doctor before using diet pills. Diet pills are not intended to treat severe medical conditions and should not be taken by pregnant women. In addition, check the ingredients of your diet pills and any other medications you may be taking before taking any over-the-counter weight loss pills product.

When should you stop using OTC weight loss pills?

You should stop using OTC weight loss pills when you reach your target weight or no longer need to lose weight. After reaching your goal weight, it’s time to stop using OTC pills and focus on eating right and exercising regularly. You’ll still be able to lose more pounds, but not as much as before. 

If you’ve reached a healthy BMI (body mass index), there’s no longer a need for over-the-counter supplements. They can actually make things harder by making it harder for your body to process nutrients properly!

What are the side effects of taking OTC weight loss pills?

Some side effects of OTC weight loss pills are detoxification, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Using OTC weight loss pills is a great way to manage weight. However, you should also eat healthily and exercise regularly for long-term results. The best way to lose weight is combining diet and exercise with a healthy lifestyle. If you want to lose weight quickly, it is important to cut out sweets and junk food from your diet.

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Most importantly, remember that each person is different and loses weight differently. If you want to lose weight and have no idea what products are right for your unique situation, we recommend using our guide as a starting point. It will help you find the best supplements available so you can consider all factors before purchasing.

— Update: 12-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 18 Popular Weight Loss Medications and Supplements Reviewed from the website www.healthline.com for the keyword best over counter diet pill.

Quick look at prescription weight loss medications

1. Orlistat (Xenical)

Orlistat is an oral medication that is available via prescription as Xenical. It can also be purchased over the counter as the brand Alli.

After a medical consultation, a doctor can prescribe orlistat. Certain telehealth services can also provide a prescription for this medication.

How it works: Orlistat works by blocking the activity of certain enzymes used to break down fats in the digestive tract, which helps to reduce the amount of calories that you absorb (2).

Effectiveness: According to a 2011 study of 80 people with obesity, those who took orlistat lost an average of 10.3 pounds (lb), or 4.65 kilograms (kg), after 6 months. They also experienced significant reductions in body mass index (BMI), belly fat, and total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (3).

Side effects: Orlistat often causes digestive issues like loose or oily stools, gas, and frequent bowel movements. It could also contribute to nutrient deficiencies, including in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, or K (4).

Following a low fat diet is typically recommended while taking this medication to help minimize adverse side effects.

2. Phentermine/topiramate (Qysmia)

Phentermine/topiramate is an oral medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as sympathomimetic amines. It requires a prescription from a doctor and is sold under the brand, Qysmia.

How it works: This medication includes phentermine, a central nervous system stimulant and appetite suppressant with similar mechanisms to amphetamine. It also includes topiramate, an anticonvulsant that helps reduce appetite and enhance satiety to promote weight loss (5).

Effectiveness: One review concluded that phentermine/topiramate resulted in an average weight loss of 17 lb (7.7 kg) and significantly reduced belly fat, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels (6).

Another review comparing the effectiveness of several weight loss medications found that people with overweight or obesity who took phentermine/topiramate lost an average of 19.4 lb (8.8 kg) after 1 year (7).

Side effects: The most common side effects associated with phentermine/topiramate include dry mouth, constipation, and paresthesia, or a sensation of pins and needles (5).

It could also cause increased body temperature, an inability to sweat, and psychiatric or cognitive disturbances (5).

3. Naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave)

This medication, sold under the name Contrave, is an oral medication that combines bupropion, an antidepressant, and naltrexone, which is used to manage opioid or alcohol use disorder (8).

A doctor can determine whether Contrave may be a good option for you and may provide a prescription. Some online services may also prescribe Contrave following a virtual consultation with a healthcare professional.

How it works: Though the exact mechanism of naltrexone/bupropion is not fully understood, it’s believed to promote weight loss by acting on certain parts of the brain to reduce food intake, boost metabolism, and increase feelings of fullness (8).

Effectiveness: One review of four studies showed that naltrexone/bupropion was associated with significant weight loss compared to a placebo. Over 1 year, participants lost an average of 11–22 lb (5–9 kg) (9).

Another review had similar findings, reporting that naltrexone/bupropion could be effective for long-term weight loss maintenance as well (10).

Side effects: Naltrexone/bupropion may cause nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, and insomnia. It might also increase heart rate and blood pressure (8).

4. GLP-1 agonists

Two GLP-1 agonists have been approved for weight loss, including liraglutide (Saxenda) and semaglutide (Wegovy). Both are available as a self-administered injection, but liraglutide is administered once daily while semaglutide is only injected once per week (11, 12).

Though not approved specifically for weight loss, some other GLP-1 agonists intended to treat type 2 diabetes are also sometimes prescribed off-label for weight management, including (13):

  • semaglutide (Ozempic or Rybelsus)
  • dulaglutide (Trulicity)
  • liraglutide (Victoza)
  • exenatide (Byetta)
  • exenatide extended-release (Bydureon BCise)
  • tirzepatide (Mounjaro)

GLP-1 agonists are only available through a prescription from a doctor. Several telehealth services and weight loss programs can also provide a prescription if you meet the eligibility criteria, including Ro Body Program and Calibrate.

How it works: GLP-1 agonists work by slowing the emptying of the stomach, increasing feelings of fullness, and reducing the secretion of glucagon, a hormone involved in regulating appetite (14).

Effectiveness: Several studies have found that GLP-1 agonists could be beneficial for weight management.

For instance, one study in 1,961 adults found that taking 2.4 milligrams (mg) of semaglutide per week combined with lifestyle changes resulted in a nearly 15% reduction in body weight after 68 weeks (15).

Another small study found that people taking liraglutide lost an average of 17.2 lb (7.8 kg) over 6 months (16).

Side effects: Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, increased heart rate, infections, and indigestion (14).

Though uncommon, severe side effects have also been reported, which may require medical attention, including kidney problems, thyroid C-cell tumors, gallbladder disease, low blood sugar, and suicidal ideation (11, 12).

More research is also needed on the long-term effects of these medications, as there is concern about potential weight regain over time.

5. Setmelanotide (Imcivree)

Setmelanotide, sold as Imcivree, is in a class of medications known as melanocortin 4 (MC4) receptor agonists. It’s an injectable medication approved for treating obesity caused by certain genetic mutations and is available only via prescription (17).

How it works: People with specific genetic mutations may experience insufficient activation of the MC4 receptor in the brain, which could contribute to obesity.

Setmelanotide works by increasing the activation of this receptor, leading to reduced hunger, decreased calorie intake, and increased metabolism, all of which could promote weight loss (18).

Effectiveness: One study in 21 people taking setmelanotide found that around 62% of participants achieved at least 10% weight loss after 1 year. Participants also experienced a significant reduction in hunger with no serious treatment-related adverse events reported (19).

Another small study in children, adolescents, and adults found that setmelanotide significantly improved quality of life as early as 5 weeks after starting treatment, which could be related to reduced hunger and body weight (20).

Side effects: Some of the most common side effects of setmelanotide include injection site reactions, hyperpigmentation, nausea, headache, diarrhea, and stomach or back pain. Fatigue, vomiting, and depression have also been reported (18).

6. Appetite suppressants

There are several anorectics, or appetite suppressants, available, including phentermine (Adipex-P or Lomaira), benzphetamine (Regimex or Didrex), diethylpropion (Tepanil or Tenuate), and phendimetrazine (Bontril).

These are all taken orally and require a prescription from a doctor or other healthcare professional.

How it works: These medications reduce appetite by altering levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which can lead to weight loss (21).

Effectiveness: One study in 3,411 people compared the effectiveness of several medications for obesity and found that people taking phentermine lost the highest percentage of body weight over 12 weeks. Those taking phentermine lost an average of 8.3 lb (3.75 kg) throughout the study (22).

Another 2015 study in 156 people with obesity showed that people taking diethylpropion lost an average of 10.8 lb (4.9 kg) after 3 months and 17 lb (7.7 kg) after 6 months (23).

However, keep in mind that these medications are only recommended for short-term use, as you can build up a tolerance after several weeks, resulting in decreased effectiveness (24, 25, 26, 27).

Side effects: Potential side effects of these medications may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps (24, 25, 26, 27).

Other severe side effects have also been reported and require immediate medical attention, including shortness of breath, chest pain, and swelling of the lower extremities (24, 25, 26, 27).


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