Prescription Weight Loss Medications

Can I Eat Whatever I Want?

This is an interesting question. If you are taking one of the lipase inhibitors like Xenical® or its over-the-counter (OTC) equivalent, Alli®, eating too much fat will leave you with some very unpleasant side effects. If you want to avoid some embarrassing and miserable situations, you'll have to stick to a low-fat diet.
If you are taking an appetite suppressant, you'll still need to put in effort to keep your eating in check. This is especially true for emotional or social eaters, who tend to overeat even when they are not hungry.

How Long Will I Stay on Prescription Weight Loss Medications?

The answer to that question will depend on how much weight you have to lose, how well the drug(s) are working, and which drug(s) you are taking. Alli, Xenical, Belviq, and Qsymia are approved for long-term use, but the other medications, which are older, are typically approved for short-term use only, usually only 12 weeks.
No matter which drug you are on, if you're not making any progress, your healthcare provider will usually take you off it. There is no sense incurring the expense and potential risks of the drugs if you are not losing weight or keeping it off, if you are on long-term maintenance after weight loss with one of the newer drugs.

Will I Become Addicted to Prescription Weight Loss Drugs?

Most prescription weight loss drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are controlled substances, meaning there is some potential for abuse of the drugs. This is not the case with lipase inhibitors. However, if you don't have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, the risk of becoming addicted is probably quite small, especially if you follow the directions as prescribed. Many of the drugs are much more addictive (and much more dangerous) at higher-than-normal dosages, so never take more than prescribed.
Most healthcare providers who prescribe weight loss medications are very careful about the abuse potential of these drugs, perhaps being even more cautious than necessary. This is probably in response to historical problems associated with older weight loss drugs (like amphetamines) that were overused and often abused. In the current prescribing and usage patterns, we have not found abuse of these drugs to be a significant problem. 
If you find yourself taking a weight loss drug to help give you energy, to keep yourself alert, or to boost your mood, please realize that you may be having difficulties with drug abuse. Please have an honest conversation with your healthcare provider about these issues.
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