Weight Loss Pills: 6 Common Myths

by Erica Sanderson Editor

You can’t get a prescription for them

False. Two weight loss prescription medications were approved by the FDA in 2012. However, only people with a BMI of 30 or higher, or those with a BMI of 27 with an obesity-related illness, are permitted to take these medications.

OTC weight loss drugs are safe

Other than Alli, most over-the-counter weight loss pills have not been thoroughly regulated or tested for effectiveness or safety. Many of the pills’ claims haven’t been proven to be true. It’s best to avoid buying any weight loss pills off a store shelf or from websites.

The pills do all the work

Contrary to popular belief, there is no “magic” pill that melts the pounds away. People must also eat a moderate healthy diet with some level of physical activity. It’s important to remember that the medication will not bring you down to your ideal weight. If done properly with a healthy lifestyle, studies have shown the FDA-approved pills can have positive effects on obesity and obesity-related illnesses.

Weight loss pills are addictive

The current medications approved by the FDA have not exhibited any potential for addiction or dependency. Always follow the correct dosage prescribed by your doctor. However, some people may be emotionally or psychologically affected by their weight and should consult with a doctor before seeking prescription medication for their obesity.

You only need the pills here and there

These prescriptions are typically meant to be used over the long run. Think of them as ongoing treatment for a chronic disease, similar to insulin for diabetics. If you don’t take them consistently, they won’t work. While some people are able to go off them eventually, for many it is a long-term commitment. Consult with your doctor about your prescription timeline and any concerns you may have.

There are no side effects

As with any medication, weight loss prescriptions can have possible side effects. Clinical trials found some side effects included dry mouth, dizziness, headache, anxiety and feeling unfocused. If you experience any side effects, stop the medication and speak with your doctor.

Erica Sanderson
Meet Our Writer
Erica Sanderson

Erica Sanderson is a former content producer and editor for HealthCentral. Living with a chronic disorder that affects the lungs and instestine, Erica focused on covering digestive health and respiratory health. Topics included COPD, asthma, acid reflux, managing symptoms and medication.