5 Top Weight Loss Pills: Pros, Cons, & How They Work | Better You RX

5 Best Weight Loss Pills: Pros, Cons, and How They Work

As the rate of obesity continues to rise, there is a growing interest in weight loss pills as a means to achieve a healthier body weight. With the plethora of options available, it can be challenging to determine which are the best weight loss pills on the market. In this article, we have carefully selected five of the top weight loss pills based on the quality of research, the average amount of weight loss achieved, risks and side effects, FDA approval status, and long-term safety and effectiveness. It’s important to note that while these pills can assist in weight loss, they are most effective when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise.

  • Phentermine (Adipex-P and Lomaira)

How it Works

Phentermine is one of the most widely used prescription weight-loss medications in the United States. Since the 1950s, Phentermine, classified as an anorectic drug, has been shown to effectively suppress the appetite. It works by blocking the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that triggers hunger. Phentermine is typically taken as a tablet, with doses starting low and gradually increasing based on the healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Eligibility and Research

To qualify for Phentermine, individuals must have a BMI of 30 or greater, or a BMI of 27 with at least one coexisting weight condition. Research has shown that Phentermine can lead to significant weight loss. In a meta-analysis of six studies, participants taking 15-30 mg of Phentermine daily lost an average of 7.9 pounds more than those on a placebo. Another study found that Phentermine resulted in the most significant weight loss compared to other weight loss medications, with an average loss of 8.3 pounds in 12 weeks.

Safety and Side Effects

Common side effects of Phentermine include dry mouth, insomnia, nausea, sweating, irritability, constipation, headache, and nervousness. More severe side effects such as increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, kidney problems, vision issues, and electrolyte imbalances are rare but possible. While Phentermine is considered a controlled substance due to its stimulant properties, it has a low potential for abuse.

Cost and Verdict

The cost of Phentermine may be covered by insurance, depending on the carrier. For those without coverage, the average cost is around $42 per month. While Phentermine can be an effective weight loss pill in the short term, more research is needed to evaluate its long-term safety and effectiveness.

  • Qsymia (Phentermine and Topiramate)

How it Works

Qsymia is an FDA-approved weight loss pill that combines Phentermine with a migraine medication called Topiramate. The combination of these two drugs has been shown to result in greater weight loss than either alone. Qsymia works by altering neurotransmitter levels to decrease appetite and cravings, as well as altering the taste of certain foods to make them less desirable.

Eligibility and Research

Eligibility for Qsymia is similar to Phentermine, with a BMI of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or more with a coexisting weight-related condition. In a large industry-funded study, participants taking Qsymia lost at least 5 percent of their body weight on average in eight weeks. Results showed that participants given higher doses of Qsymia experienced greater weight loss.

Safety and Side Effects

Potential side effects of Qsymia include altered taste, insomnia, constipation, dry mouth, prickling sensation, and dizziness. As Qsymia contains Phentermine, a stimulant and controlled substance, certain medical conditions such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, and sensitivity to stimulants may prevent its use.

Cost and Verdict

Most insurance plans cover the cost of Qsymia, with an average monthly price starting around $128. Compared to Phentermine alone, Qsymia appears to be more effective for weight loss and can be prescribed for longer than 12 weeks. However, there is still a potential for dependence.

  • Contrave (Naltrexone and Bupropion)

How it Works

Contrave is another FDA-approved prescription weight loss medication that combines naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, with bupropion, an antidepressant. Contrave works on the brain to reduce hunger and cravings by targeting the appetite regulation center and reward system.

Eligibility and Research

To be eligible for Contrave, individuals must have a BMI of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or higher with a coexisting weight-related condition. Clinical trials have shown that Contrave can lead to significant weight loss. In studies lasting 56 weeks, at least half of the participants lost at least 5 percent of their body weight.

Safety and Side Effects

Common side effects of Contrave include nausea, headaches, dizziness, constipation, and dry mouth. More serious side effects include high blood pressure, liver damage, and glaucoma. It is important to note that Contrave carries a black box warning from the FDA, cautioning users about the potential risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Cost and Verdict

Contrave may be covered by some insurance plans, while the average cost without coverage is $99 per month. When combined with a proper diet and exercise, Contrave can help with weight loss and maintenance for at least a year.

4. Orlistat (Xenical)

How it Works

Orlistat is an FDA-approved prescription weight loss medication that works as a lipase inhibitor. It blocks the enzymes that break down fat, reducing fat absorption from the diet and resulting in fewer calories absorbed by the body.

Eligibility and Research

Eligibility for Orlistat is similar to Phentermine and Qsymia, with a BMI of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with a coexisting weight condition. Research has shown that Orlistat can lead to significant weight loss. One study found that participants taking Orlistat lost 5.63 percent of their body weight compared to 2.3 percent in the placebo group. Additionally, Orlistat has shown potential in decreasing precursors to cholesterol, highlighting its role in heart health and weight management.

Safety and Side Effects

Gastrointestinal side effects such as fecal spotting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are common with Orlistat due to its mechanism of action. These side effects can be managed by following a low-calorie diet with less than 30 percent of calories from fat.

Cost and Verdict

Orlistat may be covered by insurance if deemed medically necessary, with the typical price being $100 per month. Orlistat can produce weight loss, but it is essential to manage the potential digestive side effects.

In Summary

Weight loss pills can be a helpful tool in achieving weight loss goals when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Phentermine, Qsymia, Contrave, and Orlistat have all shown promising results in clinical trials. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before considering any weight loss pill to understand potential risks and benefits.

Better You RX offers online consultations with licensed healthcare providers who can assess your eligibility for prescription weight loss medications and recommend the best options for you. Our experienced healthcare professionals will consider your medical history, current medications, and weight loss goals to create a personalized treatment plan.

In addition, we also provide ongoing support and guidance from our team of registered dietitians and weight loss coaches. We understand that weight loss is a journey that requires comprehensive support, so we offer personalized meal plans, exercise recommendations, and behavioral strategies to help you achieve long-term success.

To get started with Better You RX, simply visit our website and complete the online consultation. We will review your information and connect you with a healthcare provider who can help you on your weight loss journey. Our mission is to empower individuals to take control of their health and achieve their weight loss goals safely and sustainably.

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