Weight loss pills are taken as tools to help overweight and obese individuals reach a healthy weight. They often work by helping to suppress appetite, boost metabolism, and improve your energy and mood while dieting.
Below, you’ll find the best weight loss pills on the market – backed by our expert panel at Healthrends.
LeanBean is one of the most popular all-natural weight loss pills on the market because it works without stimulants. It works in 3 stages. First, it helps suppress appetite with Glucomannan – a natural fiber that also helps feed healthy gut bacteria.
Next, it cranks up your metabolism with thermogenic like cayenne pepper and green tea. Lastly, it provides a mild energy boost to power through cravings and energy crashes.
Its also made in an FDA certified facility without the use of filler or additives. For these reasons, they are our #1 pick.
2. Nobi Nutrition Premium Fat Burner for Women
Nobi Nutrition has formulated a fat burner specifically for women. They can boost your metabolism and increase natural weight loss by providing non-carbohydrate fuel for your brain.
This also helps you maintain energy throughout the day without slumping during the afternoon or getting cravings for your favorite troublesome snacks.
3. Burn-XT Thermogenic Fat Burner
These pills work as thermogenic fat burners; each capsule has fat-burning ingredients along with energy boosters and appetite suppressants.
Thus, Burn-XT performs three functions every time you take them and can help you keep your food cravings in check, all while assisting your exercise efforts and helping you build lean muscle.
4. Nobi Nutrition Green Tea Fat Burner
Nobi nutrition weight loss pills contain green tea extract and several other high-quality ingredients to boost your digestive metabolism and provide your brain with a natural energy boost.
It’s also formulated to help with detoxification programs and can improve your liver function more healthily than usual.
5. VitaRaw Weight Loss Pills for Women
VitaRaw features a unique ingredient blend, including white kidney beans and raspberry ketones to help you lower your appetite and boost your energy throughout the day.
It also can boost your metabolism and help you maintain a longer workout without becoming cranky.
6. Natures Craft Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
Natures Craft weight loss capsules use apple cider vinegar to boost your body’s fat-burning capabilities and metabolism while reducing sugar cravings at the same time.
It also supports better digestion and overall health and including nutrient-rich blend that will make you healthier overall even as you lose weight.
7. Lean-XT Non-Stimulant Fat Burner
Lean-XT non-stimulant fat burning pills are an excellent choice of weight loss supplement and appetite suppressant without stimulating your body. They’re keto-friendly and can be stacked with other thermogenic fat burners.
This weight loss pill uses a scientifically advanced formula, including green tea extract and certain amino acids, to maintain your muscle mass and boost your metabolism while lowering your appetite.
8. MAV Nutrition Weight Loss Pills for Night-Time
MAV nutrition weight loss pills are formulated as nighttime supplements. They help your body’s metabolism as you sleep and can prevent you from accumulating extra fat as you rest.
These pills also include green coffee bean extract to help you snack less at nighttime. Other ingredients help you sleep well and get the rest you need to work out the next day.
9. Zeal Naturals Weight Loss Pills for Women + Vitamins
Zeal naturals weight loss pills for women include several critical ingredients like green tea and cayenne pepper, to boost your energy and lower your daily cravings.
They come with several essential vitamins for women, like vitamin D and iron, that can help you meet your health benchmarks.
10. Dr. Emil Nutrition PM Fat Burner
Dr. Emil’s nutrition nighttime fat burner also operates as a sleep aid and an evening appetite suppressant. The pills don’t contain any harsh stimulants and are formulated to prevent any unpleasant side effects, like knowledge over insomnia.
They can help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism passively as you sleep.
How We Ranked
The first thing we looked at when ranking the best weight loss pills on the market, was the ingredients. In the weight loss industry, there has been a lot of ineffective and downright dangerous ingredients over the years, from the semi-legal ephedrine to the dangerous DNP.
Today, there are some new contenders like synephrine, which is actually a derivative of the ephedra plant – which has been shown to cause heart arrhythmias. This is the main reason why you won’t find the very popular NatureWise Thermo Boost weight loss pill. Instead, we preferred products like Nobi and Man Nutrition that opted out of dangerous stimulants like synephrine.
We also looked at how the ingredients worked in the body. Products with glucomannan, like LeanBean, ranked exceptionally well because it provided a powerful appetite suppressant with minimal side effects, which was also good for your gut microbiome. While certain stimulants were okay, we did prefer ones without heavy doses of caffeine since most of America already consumes quite a bit of coffee.
Other ingredients we looked for included 5-HTP as it helped regulate serotonin levels better, which has been shown to reduce appetite. Companies like VitaRaw that included herbal ingredients such as white kidney beans and raspberry ketones were rewarded as there is emerging evidence that these herbal ingredients can be beneficial for weight loss.
Lastly, we looked for products that didn’t include unnecessary fillers, binders, or coloring agents. Anything that included those agents, were either frowned upon or axed from our list.
1. Weight loss pills can reduce appetite. Appetite suppressants are believed to work on two areas of the brain—the hypothalamus (the hunger center) to help reduce hunger and the mesolimbic reward system to help control cravings — which sabotage the efforts of those trying to lose weight.
The drug Contrave is an example of an appetite suppressant. It contains two drugs: Naltrexone, which is an anti-addiction medication approved to treat alcohol and opioid dependence, and Bupropion, which is approved to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder and is an aid to smoking cessation treatment.
When these two drugs are used together, there is a synergistic weight loss effect.
Essentially, appetite suppressants act upon the body’s central nervous system, tricking the body into believing that it is not hungry. It may be particularly useful for people who have food addictions.
Three long-term (56 weeks) studies have shown that patients who add Contrave to their diet and exercise regimen lose approximately 2 to 4 times more weight than with diet and exercise alone.
In another study, patients who also participated in an intensive diet and exercise program, and remained on Contrave for a full year, lost 25 pounds on average (2).
2. Weight loss pills can block the absorption of fat. Usually, fat from a diet is broken down into smaller particles by enzymes in the digestive tract so that it can be absorbed into the body. The weight loss pill Xenical interferes with the work of enzymes to stop about 30 percent of the fat from being digested.
This undigested fat passes out of the body naturally, so individuals absorb fewer calories from what they eat.
Xenical only works in the digestive system, so to get the best results, individuals need to do their part by eating a healthy diet and exercising.
In several trials lasting up to two years, Xenical was more effective than diet alone for weight reduction and maintenance of lost weight.
In a 2011 evaluation of the efficacy and safety of this drug in 80 obese patients, Xenical caused a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (a measure of body fat based on height and weight), and waist circumference compared to placebo (3).
3. Weight loss pills help trigger the feeling of being full. The weight loss medication, Belviq, belongs to a class of medicines called serotonin receptor agonists. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter that is primarily known for its role in regulating mood. It also triggers feelings of satiety and satisfaction when eating.
Just as serotonin naturally turns on receptors to cause feelings of fullness, Belviq is believed to selectively turn on these “fullness receptors,” helping individuals feel full while eating less food (4).
The results of two major clinical trials showed that 47 percent of adults taking Belviq lost 5 percent or more of their body weight during the first year, compared with those using diet and exercise alone (22 percent).
4. Weight loss pills may help treat binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food. In their studies on the effects of the drug Qsymia on weight loss, researchers found that the drug may also help treat BED.
In a placebo-controlled study of obese individuals with BED, topiramate (one of the components of Qsymia) reduced binge-eating episodes compared to placebo, and induced binge eating remission in 58 percent of the patients (5).
5. Weight loss pills may benefit those with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar (glucose) — an essential source of fuel for the body. Complications of this condition include heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, and kidney damage.
In addition to causing weight loss, studies show that Belviq can lower blood sugar levels and possibly, blood pressure and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. By lowering blood sugar levels, Belviq reduces the risk of diabetes among prediabetic patients, and for people with diabetes, it helps lower Hb-A1c levels.
For people with diabetes, this is important as the higher the HbA1c, the greater the risk of developing diabetes-related complications (6).
6. Weight loss pills can improve your cardiovascular health. On average, people taking prescription weight-loss medications lose about 5 to 10 percent of their starting weight over one year (or about 10 to 20 pounds for someone weighing 200 pounds).
While this amount of weight loss seems small, studies show it is enough to make a significant impact on improving heart health (7).
In a 2011 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Xenical in obese patients, researchers noted a reduction in low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol (8).
Losing 5-10 percent of body weight has also been shown to decrease triglycerides by an average of 40 mg/dl, and blood pressure by five mmHg.
7. Weight loss from weight loss pills may improve obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start during sleep repeatedly. It occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep.
People who are overweight are more likely to have fat deposits around the upper airway, which may obstruct breathing.
It has been shown that losing just 10 percent of body weight may improve sleep apnea, and in some cases, losing a significant amount of weight can even cure the condition (9).
8. Weight loss pills can help reduce inflammation. Fat cells, especially those around the abdominal area, produce substances that can cause inflammation in blood vessels. This inflammation is linked to several health problems such as arthritis, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Losing 10 percent of body weight can lower the amount of these substances and cut the chances of health complications.
1. Weight loss pills may cause suicidal thoughts. One of the ingredients in Contrave — bupropion — may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in children, adolescents, and young adults. Patients prescribed this drug should be monitored for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It is not approved for use in children under the age of 18 (10).
Topiramate, an ingredient in Qsymia, may also cause suicidal thoughts or actions (11).
2. Weight loss pills may raise blood pressure. Hypertension (high blood pressure) has been reported in some prescribed Contrave. Regular monitoring of blood pressure is necessary, especially at the start of treatment.
3. Weight loss pills may cause mood changes and insomnia. Depression or mood problems and trouble sleeping may occur when taking Qsymia.
4. Weight loss pills may cause concentration, memory, and speech difficulties. Qsymia may affect how some think and cause confusion, problems with concentration, attention, memory, or speech.
5. Weight loss pills may cause seizures. There is a risk of having a seizure when taking Contrave; those who have or have had seizures should not take this drug.
6. Weight loss pills can cause congenital disabilities. Qsymia has been linked to certain congenital disabilities such as cleft lip or cleft palate.
Prescription weight loss medications can also interact with certain other drugs and may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions. Contrave, for example, may affect the way other medications work, especially opioid medicines or medicines to help stop taking opioids.
7. Weight loss pills may cause GI distress. The most common side effects include gastrointestinal issues (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, oily stools, constipation, flatulence, and stomach pain). Most side effects are mild and most often improve with regular use.
Recommended dosages vary depending on the specific drug prescribed. Contrave should be taken by mouth in the morning and the evening and should not be taken with high-fat meals. According to the manufacturer, this is because of a resulting significant increase in bupropion and naltrexone systemic exposure.
The dose of Contrave is slowly increased over time to help patients adjust to their medication. A total daily dosage of four Contrave tablets (two tablets taken twice per day) should be reached at the start of week four.
Saxenda is the only one of the five FDA-approved drugs that are injected rather than taken orally. It is injected under the skin in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The recommended dose is 3 mg daily (12).
The recommended dosage of Belviq is 10 mg taken orally twice daily. The recommended dose of Xenical is one 120-mg capsule three times a day with each main meal containing fat (during or up to 1 hour after the meal). Xenical works by blocking fat, so if there is no fat in the meal, it will not affect.
The average dose of Qsymia (phentermine-topiramate) is 7.5 mg of phentermine and 46 mg of topiramate once a day. Avoid taking this medicine in the evening to prevent insomnia.
Weight-loss medications are meant to be taken long-term. Individuals who have lost enough weight to improve their health and are not experiencing severe side effects will likely be advised to stay on the medication indefinitely.
If individuals do not lose at least 5 percent of their starting weight after 12 weeks on the full dose of their medication, their doctor will likely change their treatment plan or consider using a different weight-loss drug.
What is the best weight loss pill? There are several scientifically-back prescription weight loss pills available. Choosing the best one is a decision that needs to be made between you and your doctor. Your doctor will take into consideration your current health issues, health history, and the medication’s side effects.
What is the best over-the-counter weight loss supplement? Dietary supplement manufacturers do not need FDA approval before marketing their products. Therefore, their efficacy and safety are not always fully understood. Until further studies are performed on these supplements, healthcare providers generally hesitate to recommend them.
There is one exception, however. Alli is the only FDA-approved weight-loss medication available over-the-counter. It is a milder form of the prescription Xenical.
Before taking any over-the-counter supplement for weight loss, it is best to talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional.
What is the weight loss pill approved by the FDA? The FDA has approved five medications for use: bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda), lorcaserin (Belviq), orlistat (Xenical) and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia).
What is the safest weight loss pill? Although all five prescription weight loss pills come with the risk of side effects, most of them are mild and include diarrhea, gas, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, and dizziness.
Belviq is among the best weight loss pills when it comes to safety. Individual results vary, however, and some carry the risk of more serious adverse effects.
The ingredient phentermine — a component of Qsymia — is not usually recommended for people who have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
Topiramate, another component of Qsymia, has been linked to an increased risk of congenital disabilities, so women who are planning to get pregnant should avoid this medication.
Who might benefit from weight loss pills? Adults who have not been able to achieve significant weight loss with diet and exercise and have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more (considered obese). Also, a BMI of 27 or more (considered overweight) who have weight-related health problems (such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes), might benefit from weight loss pills.
How much weight can I lose? Over one year, patients using weight loss drugs may lose roughly 5 percent to 10 percent of their initial weight when used as part of a diet and exercise plan.
Can children or teenagers take weight-loss medications? The FDA has approved most weight-loss pills only for adults. The prescription medicines Xenical is FDA-approved for children ages 12 and older.
What is the difference between weight loss supplements and prescription weight loss drugs? The manufacturers of dietary supplements are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products and making factual claims about possible benefits. However, the manufacturers’ claims are not subject to FDA review or approval before marketing.
When safety issues are suspected, however, FDA must investigate and, when warranted, take steps to have these products removed from the market.
The FDA approves prescription weight loss pills. This means experts reviewed the results of laboratory, animal, and human clinical testing done by manufacturers. If the FDA approves, it means the agency has determined that the benefits of the product outweigh the known risks for the intended use.
Are over-the-counter supplements effective for weight loss? Although some of the individual ingredients in over-the-counter supplements may aid in weight loss, the research is lacking and often inconsistent.
For example, a synthetic version of raspberry ketones (a substance found in raspberries which give it its smell) is sold as a weight-loss supplement. Unfortunately, the one clinical trial performed on this supplement lasted only eight weeks, which is not long enough to know if the supplement will help with weight loss long term.
Also, the supplement included multiple ingredients, making it impossible to judge which ingredients helped the weight loss.
Medical experts also warn that a product is not necessarily safe simply because it is natural.
Can medications replace physical activity and healthy eating habits as a way to lose weight? No. Studies show that weight-loss medications work best when combined with healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
What supplement will help me lose weight fast? The FDA repeatedly warns consumers against taking products that claim to be weight-loss “miracles” or make promises of a quick fix, for example, “lose 10 pounds in one week.” Weight loss takes time, and there is no “magic pill” that will help burn or melt fat away.
How do these drugs help with weight loss? Most prescription weight-loss drugs work by decreasing appetite or increasing feelings of fullness, and some do both. The exception is Xenical, which works by interfering with the absorption of fat.
How long does drug therapy last? How long you will need to take weight-loss medication depends on whether the drug helps you lose weight and whether you have any side effects. If you have lost enough weight to improve your health and are not having severe side effects, your doctor may suggest that you stay on the medication indefinitely.
If you do not lose at least 5 percent of your body weight after 12 weeks on the full dose of your medication, your doctor will probably change your treatment plan or consider using a different weight-loss drug.
After stopping the weight-loss medication, many people gain back some of the weight they lost. However, adopting healthy lifestyle habits may help limit weight gain.
Will insurance cover the cost of weight-loss medication? Some, but not all, insurance plans cover medications that treat overweight and obesity. Contact your insurance provider to find out if your policy covers these medications.
What may weight loss medications be available in the future? Researchers are working to identify safer and more effective remedies to help people who are overweight or obese.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, researchers are focusing on drugs that stimulate gut hormones that reduce appetite, shrink the blood vessels that feed fat cells in the body, and target genes that affect body weight (13).
What are some good things to know about my body before using a weight loss pill? Before you go on any weight loss pill regimen, you should always talk to your doctor.
This includes asking whether the supplement or medicine in question will require a change in your diet. You should also ask about any potential side effects or risks that the pill could have on your overall health.
Similarly, allergic reactions or prior complications with medication should be investigated and cleared before you take a weight loss pill to prevent the risk of side effects.
Are all weight loss pills tested thoroughly? No. Only some manufacturers thoroughly test their weight loss pills and make sure that they are perfectly safe for use before selling them to people.
The trick is that only pills that have been thoroughly tested are FDA approved or otherwise certified by a regulatory government agency. It is legal for weight loss pill manufacturers to sell untested drugs or supplements without FDA approval. As long as they clearly state this somewhere on their website or product description, they are cleared.
You can usually find such caveats at the bottom of the website or the pill bottle. They’ll mention that they haven’t thoroughly tested the drug in question and excuse themselves for responsibility for any side effects you may encounter. As such, you should be careful when investigating weight loss pills to make sure you get something that’s worthwhile.
How can you tell if a weight loss pill is right? In many cases, excellent weight loss pill manufacturers will show you the details of their product creation process to create trust between them and their consumers. Similarly, you can call many weight loss pill manufacturers directly and ask about their testing processes and how they organize their drugs.
You should always be wary of weight loss manufacturers that don’t answer your questions directly or who don’t give any information about how they make their product or where their ingredients are sourced.
What does standardized mean concerning weight loss pills? If you see this on a weight loss pill bottle or a drug website, it means that the weight loss pill manufacturer makes every batch of their product consistently with the same ingredients and the same amount. It means that you can expect the same results from every bottle of pills you purchase.
What’s the best way to lose weight? If you are struggling to lose weight from natural overeating, using a weight loss pill in conjunction with other weight-loss strategies, like exercise and dieting, is the best way to get down to a healthy weight. All three factors, in combination, will make it very difficult for your body to hold onto excess fat.
Are weight loss pills regulated? Although there are many diet supplements available over-the-counter, there is little research on these products, and the FDA does not regulate them. Some supplements even carry the potential for causing severe adverse effects. Unlike supplements, prescription weight loss drugs have been approved by the FDA.
There are currently five weight loss medications that have been approved by the FDA for long-term use: bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda), lorcaserin (Belviq), orlistat (Xenical) and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia).
Weight loss pills are prescribed to overweight and obese individuals to help them reach a healthy weight by helping to suppress your appetite and help regulate your hunger hormones.
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