Weight Loss Pills


Weight Loss Pills

Table of Contents

What are Weight Loss Pills?

Weight Loss pills are a wide range of prescription and over-the-counter supplements that are typically designed to help reduce body weight or control it. Because diet pills interfere with how the body functions, it eventually affects weight by suppressing appetite, increasing metabolism, or preventing fat absorption.

These forms of diet pills are often called anorectic or anorexiant drugs, appetite suppressants, or anti-obesity medication. It is good to note that prescription diet pills are considered a Schedule III or IV under the Controlled Substances Act. This exists to prevent the act of abusing diet pills, and instead, keep their use to those who need them. Despite this, abusing diet pills continues to happen in the United States.

What Conditions are They Used For?

Although diet pill abuse happens, there are actual medical reasons for using weight loss pills. Common reasons your doctor may consider prescribing weight-loss drugs are often because you have already attempted to lose weight through diet and exercise. The following criteria should also be met:

A body mass index (BMI) greater than 30

A BMI greater than 27 and have serious medical problems related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure

Before doctors prescribe this medication, you will be inspected for possible side effects or potential interactions with medications you are currently taking. This is because weight loss medications should not be used by everyone. Specifically, women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or breast-feeding women should not use weight-loss drugs.

What Diet Pills are Approved by the FDA?

Four diet pills are approved by the FDA, these include bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda), orlistat (Xenical), and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia).

Almost all of these drugs work to decrease appetite or increase feelings of fullness. However, the medication orlistat works by interfering with the absorption of fat.

Types of Weight Loss Pills


This is a combination drug. Naltrexone is typically used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence, while bupropion is an antidepressant. Bupropion can also be used to help with quitting smoking. Similar to other antidepressants, bupropion carries a warning about suicide risk. Bupropion-naltrexone can also raise blood pressure, which means you must be monitored by a doctor when using it. Side effects of Bupropion-Naltrexone include nausea, headache, and constipation.


Often used to manage diabetes, Liraglutide is different from other weight-loss drugs because it is administered by injection. Side effects of this drug primarily include nausea, and vomiting can occur as well.


Known for causing gastrointestinal issues, flatulence and loose stools are common. You also must follow a low-fat diet when using Orlistat. It is available in a reduced-strength form without a prescription called Alli but should be done with extreme caution. In rare cases, serious liver problems have been reported.


Made from a combination of an anticonvulsant (topiramate) and a weight-loss drug (phentermine), this drug has the potential for abuse. The reason that it can be abused is that Phentermine produces amphetamine-like effects. Side effects of this drug include an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, constipation, and nervousness. Topiramate increases the risk of birth defects for pregnant women.

Phentermine can also be found alone, as Adipex-P. It is approved for short term use of fewer than 12 weeks but is not prescribed often. Mainly this is due to its duration of use, side effects, and potential for abuse.

OTC Weight Loss Pills

There are a few options for weight loss pills that are available over the counter (OTC). These are:

Garcinia Cambogia

Caffeine based supplements


Orlistat (Xenical or Alli)

Who Abuses Diet Pills?

Diet pills can essentially be sorted into three categories, which can be defined by their chemical makeup. They also affect the body differently and offer different reasons for abuse.

Stimulants: Affect the central nervous system. This will increase energy and a sense of well-being. Stimulants can also curb appetite but offer danger for abuse to those who enjoy the feeling of a stimulant

Appetite suppressants: Target serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain. This increases feelings of fullness and decreases appetite

Fat Inhibitors: Activate in the gastrointestinal tract. These help to reduce fat absorption and do not carry many dangers for abuse in terms of sensation

Eating Disorders

There are many different forms of eating disorders, but those who abuse diet pills mainly include those affected by:


Binge-eating disorders

Rumination disorders

Avoidance or restriction of food intake disorder (ARFID)

Around 24 million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders, which can leads to diet pill abuse in hopes of suppressing appetite and having weight loss. When someone with these diagnoses goes into rehab for a diet pill addiction, they may experience a lot of anxiety. Undergoing detox in a medically supervised environment can be helpful, especially when an eating disorder is also present.

Effects of Abusing Weight Loss Pills

Originally, modern diet pills were introduced as appetite suppressants. Originally amphetamines were used as appetite suppressants, which had a high potential for dependence and addiction. This led diet pills to be made similarly, as they can also increase energy and feelings of euphoria. Unfortunately, although they were made to avoid accidental addiction, stimulant diet pills still carry this risk.

Reasons for a diet pill abuse often include biological factors, environmental factors, how the drug is taken, as well as the first age of use.

Common side effects of diet pill abuse might include:




Chest pain


Itchy skin

Swelling of legs and ankles


Yellowing of skin/eyes

Dark urine

Light-colored stool

Recognizing the Signs of Diet Pill Addiction

Although abusing diet pills often occur because of an underlying eating disorder, it can also be due to underlying mental health conditions. Becoming dependent on diet pills happens, as they give a false sense of control over weight and life in general. Diet pills are often abused due to their availability over the counter. Signs and effects of a diet pill addiction include:

Chest pain

Irregular heartbeat





Stomach pain

Chronic mood swings


Memory loss

Rapid respiratory rate

Severe headaches

Blurred vision




If you or someone you love is taking diet pills, and experience these symptoms, a dependence may have developed. It’s vital to receive help immediately.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

If you are abusing diet pills, then you should expect withdrawal symptoms to begin as soon as six hours after your last dose.

Regardless of how soon you feel symptoms, you should expect to notice the first signs of physical withdrawal within 36 hours.

Symptoms will peak within the first five to seven days after diet pill use stops. They will eventually get better, but your body may crave the diet pills for years.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms


Trouble with concentration

Muscle aches and pains

Increased appetite

Weight gain

Low energy levels

Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms



Low mood


Mood swings



Diet Pill Detox

When someone does a “cold-turkey detox” it means they will cut a substance out of their body completely. When this happens, not only is there a withdrawal period, but there is often a shock of the body. Symptoms of withdrawal can last a longer time with a cold-turkey detox than with the tapering down method. Suddenly stopping can cause health problems, as well as a higher chance of relapse.

Medically Supervised Detox

One form of treatment is medically-supervised detox. In a center that offers medically supervised detox, you may be given replacement medications, and be put on a tapering-off schedule. By tapering off medication, or adding in replacement medications, you will be able to prevent withdrawal symptoms from causing any intense psychological issues.

It is important to never suddenly quit taking diet pills. This can trigger intense symptoms and lead to depression. During a diet pill detox, you should attempt to avoid being around negative influences. This is one of the main purposes of a medical detox center, to keep you from outside triggers that may cause a relapse.


To overcome any addiction, especially one to diet pills, you will need to understand why the diet pill abuse started in the first place. Many forms of treatment can help you to address addiction.

Although you may have been abusing diet pills for a short while, there may be years of damage behind the reason for the addiction. If you have a daily struggle with worrying about your body image or taking diet pills, then creating a healthy mind is important, before healing your body.

Recovery is possible. With both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, there are many options to help you to work through personal struggles, and overcome addiction for a happier life.

You deserve peace, and you deserve freedom. If you are being weighed down by an unhealthy addiction to diet pills, then it is time. Experience the freedom away from diet pills. Get healthy today.

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