With more than 42% of Americans dealing with obesity, the need for effective weight loss solutions is more pressing than ever. While lifestyle changes like diet and exercise are foundational to weight management, sometimes they might not be enough.
This is where prescription weight loss medications come into play. But how does one go about getting a prescription for these medications? The process might seem daunting, but with the advent of telehealth services, it has become more accessible than ever.
I will provide more details about getting a prescription for weight loss medication in the following sections.
Can You Simply Ask for a Prescription?
Getting a prescription for weight loss medication isn’t as straightforward as just asking your doctor for one. There’s a process to it, ensuring that the medication is safe and right for you. Here are some details of the process you will have to go through to get your pills.
Check If You Are Eligible
First, you need to know if you’re a candidate for weight loss medications. This usually depends on your BMI (Body Mass Index). If your BMI is over 30, or over 25 with certain health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure, you might be eligible. The process is much easier when compared to drugs that require strict regulations, such as Adderall.
|less than 18.5
|18.5 to <25
|25 to <30
|30 or higher
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity was 42.4% in the United States between 2017 and 2018.
Set Up a Doctor’s Appointment
Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider. This could be your regular doctor or a specialist in weight loss. Nowadays, you can also use telehealth services for this. During your appointment, be ready to talk about your health history, any past attempts at weight loss, and your current lifestyle.
Go Through a Medical Check-Up
Your doctor will probably do a physical exam and some tests. These help them understand your health better and decide if weight loss medication is safe for you.
Talk About Your Goals
It’s important to have a clear conversation about what you hope to achieve with weight loss medication. Remember, these medications are helpers, not magic solutions. They work best along with a healthy diet and exercise.
Aim for a gradual and steady weight loss. Rapid weight loss can lead to various health issues and is often unsustainable in the long term.
Learn More About Medication Options
If your doctor thinks medication is a good option for you, they’ll tell you about the different types available. Each one works differently and has its own side effects. Together, you’ll find one that suits you best.
|Common Side Effects*
|Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
|Reduces the amount of fat absorbed from food. Available in prescription (Xenical) and over-the-counter (Alli) forms.
|Gastrointestinal issues like loose stools and gas.
|Combination medication that suppresses appetite and makes you feel full.
|Dry mouth, constipation, tingling in hands/feet.
|Originally for diabetes, this injectable medication regulates appetite.
|Nausea, diarrhea, risk of pancreatitis.
|Combines an antidepressant with a medication that blocks opioid effects to control cravings and appetite.
|Nausea, constipation, headaches.
|Injectable medication that mimics a hormone for appetite regulation.
|Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting.
* Always consult a doctor to avoid possible side-effects
Get the Prescription
If you and your doctor decide on a medication, you’ll get a prescription. You can get this filled at most pharmacies. After starting the medication, you’ll need to stay in touch with your doctor to see how it’s working and if any changes are needed.
Be sure to check for how long the prescription is active.
Use Telemedicine Services
For those who prefer online services, telemedicine can be a convenient option. The process is similar to an in-person visit, but done through a video call. Just remember, not all medications can be prescribed this way, especially controlled ones.
Check out if someone else can pick it up for you.
Is There a Way To Get it Without Prescription?
While prescription medications for weight loss have stringent regulations due to their potential side effects and the necessity for medical supervision, there are non-prescription options available. However, it’s crucial to approach these with caution and ideally, under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Supplements
A wide range of OTC weight loss supplements are available at pharmacies, health food stores, and online. These products often claim to help with weight loss by suppressing appetite, increasing metabolism, or reducing fat absorption.
It’s important to note that these supplements are not as rigorously regulated by the FDA as prescription medications. This means their efficacy and safety are not guaranteed to the same extent.
- Ingredients to Look For: Some common ingredients in OTC weight loss supplements include caffeine, green tea extract, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Caution: Always read labels carefully and be aware of potential side effects. Some of these supplements can interact with other medications and may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with certain health conditions.
Dietary Changes and Natural Remedies
Implementing a balanced, nutritious diet is the most efficient way to lose weight. Focusing on whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, can naturally help reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss.
Portion sizes can also impact weight management without the need for medication.
- Natural Remedies: Some individuals explore natural remedies like green tea, apple cider vinegar, and fiber supplements. While these might offer some benefits, they should not be relied upon as primary weight loss solutions.
Physical Activity and Lifestyle Changes
Regular physical activity is essential for weight loss and overall health. This doesn’t necessarily require gym memberships or intense workouts; consistent moderate activities like walking, cycling, or swimming can be effective.
Small changes in daily routines, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or engaging in active hobbies can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and aid in weight management.
How to Buy Medication Safely Online?
Buying medication online can save you time and money, but it can also expose you to dangers. You need to be careful and informed when you order medication online, as it can affect your health and well-being.
Verify That It Is a Legitimate Store
Look for online pharmacies that are verified by recognized authorities, such as the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) in the U.S. They often have a seal of approval like the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS). Also, it must have a proper license. Those that have usually highlight it on the main page.
Be Aware of Red Flags
Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true, like extremely low prices or the promise of prescription medication without a prescription. Legitimate pharmacies will always offer a way to communicate, such as a phone number or live chat. If the website lacks contact information, it’s a red flag.
According to a report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, a large proportion of prescription drugs dispensed to U.S. patients from January 2017 to December 2022 were found to be actively marketed and sold by illegal online pharmacies.
Protect Your Personal and Financial Information
Research the Medication
Research the medication you intend to purchase. Know its appearance, typical dosage, and packaging. Once received, check the packaging for expiry dates and any signs of tampering.
Beware of Counterfeit Medications
The online market can contain counterfeit medications. These can be ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. Always buy from reputable sources.
Do weight loss pills work without exercise?
Weight loss pills may help you lose some weight without exercise, but they are not a magic solution. They work by reducing your appetite, blocking fat absorption, or increasing fat burning, but they also have side effects and may not be safe for everyone.
Are weight loss pills safe for 14 year olds?
Weight loss pills are not recommended for 14 year olds, as they may interfere with their growth and development. They may also cause serious health problems, such as liver damage, heart problems, or eating disorders. The best way for 14 year olds to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet and be physically active.
How much weight can you lose in a month?
The amount of weight you can lose in a month depends on many factors, such as your starting weight, your diet, your activity level, and your metabolism. A safe and sustainable rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week, which means you can lose 4 to 8 pounds in a month.
How to lose weight fast?
There is no quick fix for losing weight fast, as it may harm your health and lead to weight regain. The best way to lose weight is to make long-term changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as eating more protein and fiber, cutting back on sugar and processed foods, drinking more water, and exercising regularly.
When considering weight loss medications, start by checking if you’re eligible, typically based on your BMI. Talk openly with your doctor about your weight loss goals and understand the medication options they suggest.
If you’re looking into buying medication online, do so cautiously and only from reputable sources. And remember, these medications are part of a broader lifestyle change towards better health. Always prioritize safety and consult with healthcare professionals throughout your journey.