Weight loss is challenging for most people. After all, of the 50 million Americans who go on a diet each year, only 5 percent manage to lose weight and keep it off, says the Colorado State University Extension. And while everyone knows that eating less and exercising more is the key to dropping pounds, that's easier said than done. Some people find that prescription diet medications or over-the-counter weight-loss supplements help with appetite control, making it easier to eat less and lose weight. It's important to seek medical guidance when choosing these weight-loss aids.
Talk with your doctor about medications and supplements for appetite control and weight loss. Some options may not be safe or appropriate for everyone. Your physician can outline your options among prescription and over-the-counter diet pills, help you consider their safety and effectiveness, and provide guidance regarding proper dosage and duration of use.
Try Meridia. If your doctor agrees it is right for you, a prescription for the diet medication Meridia may be worth a try. According to Judith S. Stern, of the University of California, Davis Medical Center, individuals taking Meridia report reduced hunger. Meridia is recommended for people who are significantly overweight, and is used on a long-term basis. Because it can raise blood pressure, Meridia can be unsafe for those with hypertension.
Consider phentermine for another appetite-suppressant option. If Meridia is not appropriate for your situation, phentermine may be useful. Phentermine controls hunger by raising your brain's level of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, says Harvard Medical School. While phentermine appears effective in suppressing appetite, it is intended for short-term use only, due to the risk of rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure involved with taking this medication. You should not take it for more than three months.
Try over-the-counter remedies if you'd prefer to avoid prescription medication. Various supplements such as pyruvate, green tea extract, chitosan, CLA and herbal "diet teas" are available at your local health-food or nutrition store, but their effectiveness is debated. At any rate, if you choose to try one of these options, clear them with your physician first, and follow instructions carefully.
Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich, high-fiber diet, and exercise regularly. No matter which diet pill you try, it's crucial to combine your use of appetite suppressants with diet and exercise to truly lose weight and keep it off. High-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes can help fill you up and keep your appetite satisfied for longer periods. Drinking more water may help reduce hunger as well. And frequent physical activity will help you burn off more of the calories you eat.
- Colorado State University Extension; Weight Loss Products and Programs; J. Anderson, et al.; December 2008
- University of California, Davis Medical Center; Can Diet Pills Help You Lose Weight?; Judith S. Stern, Sc.D.
- Harvard Medical School Health Publications: Keeping Weight-Loss Drugs in Perspective