Guide to weight loss pills and supplements

Anorexiants (Appetite Suppressants)

Anorexiants are drugs that act in the brain to help lower a person’s appetite. They have an effect on the parts of the brain which help control how full you feel. Anorexiants are used as a treatment for weight loss, along with a regular plan of diet and exercise.


Side effects of stimulants may include:

  • increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • insomnia
  • nervousness
  • blurred vision
  • restlessness
  • headache.

Some forms may cause stomach side effects like constipation, dry mouth, nausea or vomiting. A healthcare provider should be contacted if side effects like chest pain, pounding or rapid heartbeat, difficulty urinating, or shortness of breath occur.

These drugs are also classified as controlled substances. As these drugs are amphetamine-related, dependence, abuse or withdrawal may occur with long-term use. Keep them in a secure place away from children and pets.

Examples of stimulant weight-loss drugs include:

FDA Approved Weight Loss Drugs

Update: This location is now closed. Check the U Weight Loss Clinics website for a location near you. 

I was in a store the other day, and noticed a «Free Detox and Cleanse» and «Healthy Weight Analysis» offer at the «U weight loss clinic».  I put my name and information on the ballot and dropped it into the box.  I received a call two days later, and was offered a free, one hour consultation.  I set up the appointment for the next day.

I arrived at the U Weight Loss Clinic and was immediately impressed by the three pictures that were hanging on the wall behind the front desk.  They said, «lose», «live», «love».  I filled out a Health History and waited. 

While waiting, I found a u weight loss clinic brochure.  In it were the simple lifestyle secrets that allow you to reach your health weight and love your life: 

  • Secret 1:  Detox and Cleanse
  • Secret 2:  Hormonal Balance
  • Secret 3:  Increase Metabolism

I was interested to learn more.

I met with a very young, attractive, fit-looking representative and she took me into a private room where I reviewed the «about» page on the U weight loss website.  She also had me read a testimonial about a woman who lost  40 lbs while on their program.  When she came back into the room she assessed me and asked me a lot of questions about my lifestyle, diet, and goals. 

There is a «program» that I could join up for, but I told her I would need to speak to my husband.  The program involves the purchasing of supplements, and recipes and an exercise program that is necessary for the 2 lb. a week weight-loss.  She did not give me a price for the entire program, but recommended that I speak to my husband and get back to her.  She said I would need his support in terms of the recipes and the financial committment.

What she did give me was the

free «Kick Start Detox-Rapid Loss

» tablets and capsules (pictured above) that are contained in a nice, neat blister pack.  She said that these 4 tablets have to be taken twice daily and while on a Detox program (cleanse the internal systems to remove the toxin build up), you have to have three light meals daily, preferably high protein (like egg whites) and smoothies with protein powder.  She also did the Healthy Weight Analysis and helped me determine a healthy weight, according to the BMI (Body Mass Index).

They sell other types of supplements.  I was interested in the «Maintain Longevity», as it contains a lot of the minerals and vitamins that I like to take as a vitamin supplement.  In addition, it has coenzyme q10, antioxidants and herbs. The only downside to this was that you have to take three tablets, and they cost $54.95 for a two-week supply.  She said you only need to take for about 3 months however.  I asked her if they had a sample, and she gave me a sample from her own personal pack.

She recommended Vitamin E which is good for skin elasticity, and cautioned that if you take iron and calcium at the same time they cancel each other out.  She showed me a book called, «Nutritional Supplements» by Lyle MacWilliam, and said that if I take supplements I should check in this book as this author has done research on the different supplements and U weight loss supplements score 5 stars out of 5.  She also recommended Zinc for skin problems and said it can be used as a cream as well.  If I were to take only one supplement, she recommended Omega 3.  She said it’s a healthy fat, and good for brain development and would be good for my adolescent daughter as well. They are $26.95 for 60 caplets.  She said Calcium is very important and should be taken daily.  She also recommended the «U Protein», which is a vanilla flavoured whey powder that you can put into a drink, like a smoothie.  This was $59.95.

I didn’t feel any pressure to sign up.  I was fearful of that because I had done an online search of U weight loss clinic before I went.  Some people had reported that there is high pressure sales and they pressure people to sign up on the spot.  My representative said that if I decide to purchase any of the products, she can put together a deal for me.  She also emailed me some of the information sheets on some of the products I’ve mentioned earlier.  She also made sure I had her contact information.  No problems, and no pressure!

All-in-all, I gained some valuable information, and something to think about.  The Detox and Rapid Loss blister pack is something I am definitely going to try, and take it from there.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  

Calculate your own BMI (Body Mass Index).

Have a great day!

~ Angela G. Gentile, MSW RSW

Brand Drug Name Drug Category Common Side Effects
Adipex-P (phentermine) Appetite suppressant; sympathomimetic amine Increased blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, dependence, abuse or withdrawal may occur with long-term use. When given as a single agent, phentermine is not implicated in valvular heart disease; avoid use at bedtime.
Alli (orlistat): over-the-counter (OTC) Lipase inhibitor Oily spotting, gas (flatulence), fecal urgency, soft stools, fecal incontinence; take Alli with a daily multivitamin once-a-day at bedtime.
Belviq (lorcaserin) Selective serotonin 2C receptor agonist (suppresses your appetite by affecting a chemical in your brain) Headache, nausea, cough, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation; euphoria/dissociation may occur with higher doses; do not exceed 10 mg two times a day.
Bontril PDM, Bontril (phendimetrazine) Appetite suppressant; sympathomimetic amine Increased blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, dependence, abuse or withdrawal may occur with long-term use; decreased appetite, avoid use at bedtime.
Contrave (bupropion and naltrexone) Antidepressant (weak inhibitor of norepinephrine and dopamine) and an opioid antagonist Nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, constipation, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, fast heart rate anxiety, tremor, hot flush, unusual taste.
Desoxyn (methamphetamine) Appetite suppressant; sympathomimetic amine High abuse potential and not frequently prescribed; use only if alternative treatments are ineffective; increased blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, dependence, abuse or withdrawal may occur with long-term use; avoid use at bedtime.
Didrex (benzphetamine) Appetite suppressant; sympathomimetic amine Increased blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, dependence, abuse or withdrawal may occur with long-term use; decreased appetite, avoid use at bedtime.
diethylpropion (generic only) Appetite suppressant; sympathomimetic amine Constipation, restlessness, dry mouth, increased blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, dependence, abuse or withdrawal may occur with long-term use; avoid use at bedtime.
Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate extended-release capsules) Combination appetite suppressant-seizure drug; exact action of topiramate on weight loss is not known Tingling or numbing sensation (paresthesias), dizziness, altered taste, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), constipation, dry mouth. The dose is taken once daily in the morning; avoid an evening dose as it may keep you awake. Do not use if pregnant or planning a pregnancy due to possible birth defects; avoid use at bedtime.
Saxenda (liraglutide) Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist; regulates appetite and food intake injection only. Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, dizziness, headache, heartburn, fatigue, dizziness, stomach pain, gas, dry mouth, low blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, elevated heart rate, increased lipase.
Xenical (orlistat) Lipase inhibitor Oily spotting, gas (flatulence), fecal urgency, soft stools, fecal incontinence; take Xenical with a daily multivitamin containing fat-soluble vitamins.

Weight loss drugs can be associated with important or serious side effects, or may have the potential for dependence and abuse. Some important warnings and side effects include:

  • Many of the weight loss drugs known as sympathomimetic amines can stimulate the heart and lead to high blood pressure and a fast heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Amphetamine-derivative, stimulant type weight loss drugs may be associated with constipation, dry mouth, restlessness, withdrawal effects, or insomnia (difficulty falling asleep), drug abuse and addiction.
  • Lipase inhibitors such as Alli or Xenical (orlistat) have been associated with rare liver injury and patients should be alert for signs of liver disease such as itching, yellow skin or eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, loss of appetite, pale or tar-colored stools, brown-colored urine (due to excess bilirubin in the urine).
  • Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate) is an FDA-approved extended-release weight loss medication. Qsymia has restricted access because topiramate, one of the drugs contained in Qsymia, can lead to severe birth defects in pregnant women. This means you may only be able to get Qsymia from certified pharmacies or through the mail by the Qsymia Home Delivery network. Do not use Qsymia if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Women must have a negative pregnancy test before starting Qsymia and each month while taking the medication. 
  • Contrave (bupropion and naltrexone) is not used for depression but contains bupropion from the antidepressant class of drugs. Contrave’s label contains a boxed warning found on all antidepressants: a risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in children, adolescents, and young adults when used for depression. Do not use Contrave with other bupropion-containing products (such as Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Aplenzin and Zyban) as it may increase the risk of severe side effects. Do not use if you have a risk for seizures. Serious psychiatric side effects, like mood changes (depression, mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, thoughts of suicide, and other serious events have been reported in patients using bupropion for smoking cessation. May cause liver damage; avoid alcohol use with Contrave.
  • Saxenda (liraglutide) contains a boxed warning for thyroid C-cell tumor cancer; however, studies have only identified this risk in animals at this point. If you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2, you should not use Saxenda due to the possible risk of thyroid tumors.
  • Belviq (lorcaserin) acts on the serotonin system in the brain, and it is important you have a drug interaction review each time you have a new drug prescribed to check for possible interactions with other drugs that may affect serotonin (such as certain antidepressants or migraine drugs, for example). 

Not inclusive of all adverse reactions. For a full listing of all common and serious side effects linked with weight loss drugs, visit each monograph individually.

  • Fenfluramine (Pondimin), used in the combination drug fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine) was associated with dangerous heart valve side effects and is no longer available on the U.S. market due to this side effect. Fenfluramine inhibits serotonin reuptake to reduce appetite. In 1997, the FDA withdrew fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine (Redux) from the market, as well.
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