Weight-loss pills are available in two types of classes: lipase inhibitors and appetite suppressants. Although weight-loss pills may initially work in losing weight, they are not intended for long-term use. For the most part, physicians prescribe weight-loss medication to individuals suffering from obesity with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, according to MayoClinic.com. Your physician should carefully monitor your progress to prevent any misuse or complications that may arise.
Orlistat is a weight-loss medication that is available in both prescription and over-the-counter strengths. It is the first over-the-counter weight-loss supplement approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor that blocks the absorption of fat in the intestines. Your daily fat content should not exceed 30 percent of your daily-recommended value of caloric intake, Drugs.com says. Both prescription and over-the-counter forms of orlistat require you to take the medication during or within one hour of eating, according to PubMed, a publication of the National Institutes of Health. If you exceed the fat content, PubMed warns, you can experience bowel changes like excessive diarrhea. Dosing for over-the-counter orlistat is 60 mg, while prescription is 120 mg.
Phentermine is a prescription appetite suppressant prescribed to individuals suffering from obesity. It is an anorectic agent, meaning it suppresses hunger urges by affecting the central nervous system. It has a chemical structure similar to amphetamines and can be habit-forming, Drugs.com warns. Like orlistat, phentermine is not for long-term use and your health-care provider must set forth a length of treatment. Due to its similarity to amphetamines, users may exhibit resistance after use and should not increase dosing to garner the same effects as initially experienced. Instead, you should cease use and contact your physician. Usual dosing is 8 mg, three times a day, 30 minutes prior to mealtime, according to Drugs.com.
Phenylpropanolamine is both an anorectic agent similar to phentermine as well as a decongestant, according to Drugs.com. It is available over-the-counter and works by decreasing the appetite to facilitate weight loss. This weight-loss compound is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as it may increase your risk of hemorrhagic stroke, Drugs.com warns. It is available by prescription, which is 75 mg, and over-the-counter, which is 25 mg, according to Drugs.com.