Weight Loss Pills: Good or Bad?

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Drug companies have been producing weight loss pills since the late 1800s. Known simply as ‘fat reducers’, they were made predominantly from a metabolism boosting thyroid extract. But are taking supplements to reach your goals faster a good idea?

“There are different FDA approved weight loss medications and each has a different list of contraindications and side effects,” says Dr. Guy Citrin, N.D., who is trained in both conventional and holistic medicine. “Most agree that if you are pregnant, breastfeeding they are not for you. Also, of course, if there are any allergies to these types of medications would be a contraindication.” 

He adds that you should always consult with your physician before doing any weight loss therapies or medications as each one acts differently and needs to be evaluated for the person.

How do prescription diet pills work? 

Each type of prescription diet pill works differently, according to Dr. Citrin. For example:

a) Orlistat (Xenical) works by decreasing the amount of fat you absorb by about 30% and also may curb appetite. 

b) Naltrexone HCl and bupropion (Contrave) works mostly as an appetite suppressant. 

c) Phentermine also works as an appetite suppressant. 

d) Phentermine and topiramate (Qsymia) this can act as an appetite suppressant along with increasing the number of calories you burn (raises metabolism)

e) hCG: is hypothesized to work by signaling the hypothalamus to utilize fat stores in low calorie states. 

“I personally prefer hCG, but you should know it is not an approved FDA therapy nor is it recommended by the FDA for weight loss,” he says. “Speaking clinically, I have seen it work wonderfully but only under close monitoring and only after the patient is healthy otherwise in both hormones and gut. If there is a hormone or gut related issue that is not corrected it only leads to distress when losing weight with hCG in my clinical experience.”

When should you try weight-loss pills? 

You should only take weight-loss pills after addressing and correcting any hormonal imbalance along with any signs of gut distress. That can be constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, etc. 

“Also, it needs to be approved by your physician to determine what is correct for you,” says Dr. Citrin.

Do they really work?

Yes, these weight loss pills can work, says Dr. Citrin. 

“All forms of weight loss have the right target audience,” he explains.” Some indicate a 3-5% weight loss over the course of 2 months, while others can be even more effective. When done correctly, I have found hCG with proper guidance can eliminate a truly significant amount of weight, and in some I have seen documented one pound per day loss without stretch marks. Again, this needs to be under medical supervision and done correctly and I don’t make any claims but only am revealing my clinical experience.”  

Risks of weight-loss pills

Various risks with the medications, each FDA approved medication has various side effects and they should properly be evaluated before choosing the correct medication for you.

“Weight gain can be one of the last things to occur to the body,” says Dr. Citrin. “There are some people who experience significant weight gain in high school or even earlier, and that weight has never been able to come off.”

However, for the majority of the populations weight comes on a little later in life and that weight is much more stubborn. Dr. Citrin always tells his patients that it took years for their body to put on this weight, and helping the body go back to health is the first important thing when evaluating weight loss therapies

“I have found that once the body is functioning better, it then can handle the fat loss well,” he says. “This includes things like diet, herbs, supplements, possibly the right medications, and exercise. When the main fundamentals of life are returned: proper healthy bowels, sleep patterns, hydration, and stress are essential for weight loss. I usually administer hCG or another form of weight loss therapy because the body processes the change better.”

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