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September 2, 2021 6:23 am

Are Prescription Weight Loss Pills Worth It? Our Dietician Weighs In!

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According to the CDC, 42.4% of Americans are considered obese. Factor in the number of people who are overweight, and we have a total of 73.6% of the US population that are carrying around excess weight that can be dangerous to their health.

There are so many factors that are contributing to the obesity epidemic, from overconsumption of processed foods to genetics. And the thing is, most people who fall into this category, truly want to lose weight and live a healthier, happier life.

But so many feel as though they have tried every diet, exercise program, and trend out there to no avail. Feeling defeated, they turn to their doctor who perhaps has recommended weight loss pills or even weight loss surgery, both of which feel like serious steps, with weight loss pills looking like the less invasive option.

This, however, leaves you to question whether weight loss pills work and if they’re really worth it. We’ve all heard horror stories about fads that advertise and promote quick fix weight loss solutions that melt your fat off in mere days. 

Could it be? 🤔

But what if there were other options out there? Like FDA-approved, prescription weight loss pills that actually help you lose weight safely and sustainably. Well, there are and there are also weight support programs that give you so much more like the support and motivation you need to really succeed.

In this article, I want to discuss prescription weight loss pills with you, dissecting how they work, who they’re best for, and hopefully taking some of the stigma and hesitation away from trying RX weight loss pills so that you can live a fit, healthy life.

What Are Prescription Weight Loss Drugs?

prescription weight loss drugs (FDA approved)

Prescription weight loss drugs are FDA-approved medications that are meant to be used in conjunction with a comprehensive weight loss program and close monitoring by an experienced physician. These drugs are typically reserved for those who have a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher, especially for those who have other health conditions like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

The most important thing to note about FDA-approved weight loss drugs, and there are only a handful of them, is that they are not designed to zap away your fat overnight. A successful round of weight loss pills should help you lose about 5-10% of your body weight in about 4-6 months, which is a safe, realistic expectation. With even a 5% reduction in body weight, your quality of life can improve dramatically.

How Much Weight Can You Lose On Weight Loss Medication?

lose weight with prescription weight loss medication

Using prescription weight loss pills as a tool in your weight loss toolbox can help to optimize the process for you, but you’re going to be disappointed if you think that it’s going to be a magic fix to your excess weight. In fact, you’ll need to drop the expectation that losing weight with drugs will be quick and easy and prepare yourself to put in the work that goes along with it.

Telehealth weight loss companies like Found help you set a realistic foundation for your journey by advising that you can expect to lose about 10% of your weight by the 6 month mark. While some might find that to be minimal, the truth is that it’s a very natural and sustainable weight loss. The last thing you want to do is drop weight too quickly and do so by using an unsustainable method because you can guarantee that the weight will come right back on.

Are Prescription Weight Loss Pills Effective?

weight loss scale because of prescription meds

Yes, prescription pills can be effective for weight loss, however, there are many individual factors at play that will determine your results. What works for one person may not work for another, which is why it’s imperative to work closely with weight loss specialists who can help ensure you’re getting the right treatment for your biology and needs.

For example, some weight loss pills are designed to help stop cravings while others are geared more toward helping you feel fuller with less food. The medication that you receive should align with your specific needs and goals. Again, this is where brands like Found can really help you as their licensed medical professionals work closely with you to determine what you need based on your  genetics as well as other factors.

Research shows that those who take weight management medication lose, on average, 10% more of their starting weight. Of course, results will vary based on the medication and individual factors like hormones and genetics.

There’s also ongoing research into the effectiveness of weight loss medications. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are currently 12 clinical trials that are currently recruiting participants and in process. The results of these studies and others are sure to give us a clearer picture of the effectiveness of weight loss pills.

Who Qualifies For Prescription Weight Loss Drugs?

qualifying for prescription meds for weight loss

Generally speaking, those who have a BMI of >30 are considered eligible for prescription weight loss medications. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, particularly when people have other factors at play that are affecting their health.

Other qualifying factors include your diet and weight history. If you’ve been struggling with your weight for a long period of time and feel as though you just can’t seem to lose weight, prescription medications might be the catalyst you need to start the process rolling. For example, if you’ve gone down the diet and exercise route numerous times and still haven’t seen the results you desire, there could be more at play there that would warrant the help of a medical provider and potentially weight loss pills.

Is It Safe to Try Prescription Weight Loss Pills?

safe weight loss prescription meds

RX weight loss pills are FDA-approved, which means that there is evidence to show that there are more benefits to taking the medication than there are risks. Essentially, it has been proven safe and effective, however, there are always outliers and special cases.

Here's the deal...

Between the fact that the drug is FDA-approved and that you’re working with a licensed medical professional under close supervision, you can feel confident that the RX prescribed to you is safe. Of course, should you begin to experience any adverse reaction or symptoms, you should advise your MD right away.

Overcoming the Stigma of RX Weight Loss

There’s always been a stigma associated with using prescription medications to treat things like mental illness and obesity. Many believe that these illnesses can simply be overcome if it’s something that you want bad enough. However, this is disheartening for those who are in the trenches, trying their hardest and still suffering.

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Luckily, we’ve made great strides in the mental health space. Those dealing with depression and anxiety can now easily turn to online mental health services like Brightside and Cerebral to get safe, convenient access to the medications they need to treat their symptoms without any shame or embarrassment.

The same can now be said about treating weight related issues. Those struggling with excess weight can now seek professional help from real, licensed medical specialists through services like Found (Join Found) and Calibrate (Join Calibrate weight loss), both of which offer prescription weight loss medications as well as professional coaching.

See our head-to-head found and calibrate comparison, as the main goal is for you to find out which is better for you. You can get started with FOUND for only $99 per month and cancel anytime.

Start FOUND

For As little as $99 per month and you can cancel anytime

As more and more people understand that there is more to your weight than just the food you eat and the workouts you do, the more acceptable it has become to incorporate things like RX weight loss drugs to help get your body going in the right direction.

If you’re considering getting a prescription for FDA-approved weight loss medication, don’t feel ashamed! You’re not alone and you have nothing to lose but the excess weight. In fact, on average, people who take prescription medications as part of their healthy lifestyle program lose 3-12% more of their starting weight than those who don’t take medication. So why not give yourself the best shot at success?

For the Tretinoin cream, I was prescribed 50 milliliters (90-day supply) and I was directed to apply 1 pump or a pea-sized amount to my face at bedtime every night. Again, very straightforward and easy to understand.

What Are Some Concerns For Those Considering Prescription Medications For Weight Loss?

concerns with prescription weight loss (eating too much)

A main concern is thinking you can eat whatever you want after taking prescription weight loss. You'll still need to change your lifestyle to lose significant weight.

The biggest concern for some medical professionals when it comes to prescribing medications for weight loss is that the side effects can sometimes outweigh the benefits. This is why it’s important to not only consult with a licensed physician before prescribing but also to understand that your health goals need to be about more than just aesthetics or the way you look. Your main goal needs to be to improve your health and longevity, which is what these medications are designed to do.

That said, the potential side effects are typically very mild and will depend on the individual. Plus, you’ll be monitored closely by a professional team and the FDA-approved drugs are all geared towards slow, maintainable weight loss, nothing drastic.

Final Thoughts: Are Prescription Weight Loss Pills Worth Trying?

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It's the fit, healthy (wellness) lifestyle we're all after, and prescription weight loss could be what starts you off on the right path.

Research shows that using prescription weight loss pills in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise routine can help those who are overweight or obese to lose up to 10% more body weight than relying on diet and exercise alone, making the addition of a weight loss RX worth it for those who are dealing with weight-related health issues.

If you’re someone who has a small amount of weight to lose or haven't tried the traditional diet and exercise route, you will likely be advised to begin there and see if you get results first. If you sign up for a weight management program like Found, you can qualify for their therapy path which includes the support and accountability you need to focus on your journey and not feel alone in the process.

For those who have significant weight to lose (BMI of 30 or more) and who feel as though they have tried and failed at every diet, tip, and trick in the book, considering weight loss medication is well worth it as it’s proven to help optimize your weight loss results.

I highly recommend getting started with Found weight loss as they have a comprehensive program that allows you to get on the path to a healthier weight while feeling encouraged and supported the whole way through. You’ll have access to weight loss specialists and personalized coaching that will make sure you’re taking the right medication for your body and that you have the support you need to reach your goals and maintain them for the long term.

Verified Recommendation

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Start FOUND For Prescription Weight Loss

About the author 

Courtney D'Angelo

Courtney D'Angelo is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist at Morrison Healthcare. She earned her Masters Degree in Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia. Her passion is to spend time with her 3 children, cook healthy meals and help other women and moms live a happier, healthier life.

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