One of the things many people are most conscious about in life is their weight. And for some, trying to lose weight ends up with us hitting the gym hard, taking up running, or indulging in fad diets. However, a concerning number of people decide to use drugs to lose weight.

There has always been an element of people using substances to lose weight, from smoking to weight loss drugs, or even illegal drugs. But do drugs work for weight loss, and what are the facts about them? Are they actually doing more harm than good?

With more and more people taking up drugs to lose weight, we look at the facts about what they’re actually doing to the body:

Rapid weight loss can actually be a sign of addiction 

Many illicit drugs such as heroin can lead to severe weight loss. Even though results can be seen quite quickly, narcotics can be a fast track path to addiction. What’s more, you can hit unhealthy weight levels quickly and find yourself being at a rehab clinic instead of  being at the slender, natural weight you wished for!

Ultimately, it isn’t a healthy way to lose weight, it’s actually a grave one.

Drugs for weight loss can lead to health complications

Even weight loss specific drugs can cause health complications and you may find yourself battling a series of side effects with them. They can vary depending on the type of drug you take. For example:

  • Phentermine: This can lead to insomnia, higher blood pressure, faster heart rate, restlessness and more.
  • Orlistat: This is a type of drug that interferes with fat absorption and leads to softer stools, bad gas and oily skin and spots.
  • Saxenda and Wegovy: This will often cause pretty significant and uncomfortable side effects such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and constipation, as well as heartburn and bad gas.
  • Contrave: Diet pills like these can often lead to headaches as well as dizziness, while you may also suffer nausea and vomiting as well as constipation.

Approved drugs to lose weight

Six weight-loss drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term use:

  • Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)
  • Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
  • Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
  • Semaglutide (Wegovy)
  • Setmelanotide (Imcivree)

If you decide to use weight loss drugs, it’s important to get advice from your doctor and be prescribed them alongside an exercise and realistic nutrition plan.

There are so many potentially dangerous side effects from taking drugs to lose weight that I cannot condone their prescription and use. The solution to getting a handle on your eating comes from your HEAD, not from a pill bottle!