Weight lossmedications

A number of medications can boost your weight loss efforts when you combine them with a medically supervised diet and exercise program.

To maintain any weight loss you achieve with medication, you’ll have to be able to make long-term modifications to your lifestyle.

These medications may not be suitable if you have other health conditions.


This prescription medication with the brand name Duramine® or Metamine® can reduce your appetite so you feel less hungry. It’s only recommended for short-term use. The side effects can include dry mouth, headaches, insomnia, glaucoma and overactive thyroid. It’s not suitable for pregnant women, people with certain mental health conditions or those with a history of drug (including alcohol) abuse or dependency.


Known by the brand name Saxenda®, this is an injectable prescription medication which can also be used to reduce your blood glucose. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and palpitations. It can’t be used if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.


This medication is often called by its brand names Xenical® or Prolistat®. It’s available over-the-counter at pharmacies. It works by limiting the absorption of fat from your gut so that less fat is absorbed from your diet. If you eat too much fat, you can get an increased urge to empty your bowels and/or an unpleasant oily leakage. Used long term, it can also cause a deficiency in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.


Many people try laxatives as a means of reducing weight, but doctors don’t recommend it. Laxatives provide temporary weight loss by reducing the amount of fluid in your intestines rather than reducing fat. Your body will quickly replace the lost fluid. Side effects include dehydration, fatigue, dry skin and dizziness. Used excessively they can produce serious imbalances in electrolytes that put you at risk of seizures, confusion and coma.

Herbal and alternative medications

There are a number of herbal and alternative remedies that people use for weight loss. However, their effectiveness isn’t proven, their safety is questionable and they may interact with other medications.

They include green tea extract, synephrine, hydroxycut, ephedra with caffeine, ephhedra sinica, guarana and yohimbe.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.