Medicine is generally used only for those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. But they sometimes are used for those with a BMI of 27 or higher who are at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea.1
- Orlistat (Xenical) is a prescription medicine that prevents some of the fat calories you eat from being absorbed in your intestines. Prescription orlistat is the only weight-loss medicine that is approved for children. It is meant to be used only in children over the age of 12.
- Orlistat (Alli) is also available over the counter. Alli contains half of the medicine that is in Xenical. Over-the-counter orlistat is not meant for use by anyone under the age of 18.
- Appetite suppressants like phentermine suppress your appetite. They are approved only for short-term use. Phentermine is no longer sold in Europe because of a possible link with heart and lung problems.
- Lorcaserin (Belviq) is a prescription medicine that you take twice a day. It can help you eat less and feel satisfied with eating smaller amounts of food.
- Phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia) is a prescription medicine that combines the drugs phentermine and topiramate. Taking it once a day can help you eat less.
What to think about
Medicine doesn't work for everyone. And medicine alone is not as effective as when it is combined with healthy eating habits or activity.
Nonprescription weight-loss products aren't recommended. Some have dangerous side effects, and others have no proven benefit.
- Obesity: Should I Take Weight-Loss Medicine?