When combined with diet and exercise, prescription diet pills can help you lose more weight in the first year than you would lose by using diet and exercise alone, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have a great deal of weight to lose–and typically have more than a body mass index (BMI) rating of 30–weight loss medication may be for you. Understanding the differences between the various types of medications can help you choose which one you want to discuss with your physician.
Meridia is an appetite suppressant that, as of 2010, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for long-term weight loss use by patients who are clinically obese. Meridia contains the drug sibutramine, which impacts brain chemicals that contribute to the body’s weight management system, according to the Drugs website. The medication impacts chemicals in the brain that affect weight maintenance. Taking Meridia sooner than 14 days since you last took an MAO inhibitor, such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), can cause life-threatening side effects.
Patients are guided to tell their physicians before taking Meridia if they have been diagnosed with other medication conditions, including high blood pressure, kidney or liver disease, depression, seizures or hypothyroidism. Meridia is not recommended for patients under 16. If you breastfeed your child, talk to your doctor before taking Meridia. Meridia comes in a capsule and is taken one time each day before the first meal.
Phentermine, which used to be combined with fenfluramine, is still available by prescription. According to the Drugs website, phen-fen was removed from the market in 1997 due to its correlation to the development of fatal cases of pulmonary hypertension. Phentermine without fenfluramine, however, has not been shown to have adverse affects on health, and is still available by prescription.
Phentermine is a stimulant medication. Side effects are possible; the drug can be habit forming. The Drugs website suggests that if you are on phentermine that you keep track of the number of pills in the bottle to be sure no one in the household is taking them who does not have a prescription.
You cannot take phentermine earlier than 14 days after a last dose of MAO inhibitor. You should talk to your doctor before you take it if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or you are breastfeeding your child.
Phentermine comes in pills and capsules. Capsules are time released and are taken once a day. Pills are taken three times a day, shortly before each meal.
As of 2010, Xenical is the only fat-absorption inhibitor approved for weight loss use in the United States. The drug blocks approximately 30 percent of the dietary fat your body absorbs, according to the Drugs website.
While the medication is now available over-the-counter (OTC) in the Alli brand, the Mayo Clinic reports the OTC dose is not as effective as the prescription dose.
Xenical is taken in capsule form three times a day, either with meals or within one hour after each meal.
The Drugs website urges you to speak with your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions you have before beginning the program.