Can You Take Prescription Meds While You're on the HCG Diet?

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A pharmacist reading a prescription's instructions to a patient. (Image: DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images)

The hCG diet, created by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons, combines a very strict 500-calorie-per-day diet with daily injections of human chorionic gonadotropin to "reprogram" the hypothalamus, changing the way your metabolism operates. The motto of the diet is "strict adherence," as any deviation from the carefully outlined program will hinder weight loss. If you are taking prescription medication, it may be necessary for you to deviate slightly, but any weight not lost during your first course can be made up in subsequent courses.

General Rule

The general rule regarding prescription medications and Dr. Simeons's protocol is that you should continue taking any drugs that are medically necessary, but it is important to disclose all medications to your diet doctor before starting treatment. The goal of the diet is to improve your health, not worsen it, so no prescription should be discontinued without your doctor's orders. That said, some medication may slow your weight loss results, although the effect is unavoidable. Over-the-counter medications, however, are prohibited.

Special Mention

In his book Pounds and Inches, Dr. Simeons mentions thyroid medications as interfering with weight loss because of the low basal metabolic rate that sometimes occurs while on the drugs due to a failure of the diencephalon to stimulate the thyroid. He recommends that thyroid medications be discontinued during the hCG treatment, but this is up to your doctor. He also mentions diuretics as undesirable during treatment because they can produce inaccurate weigh-ins that convince the dieter that fat has been lost when only water is lost. But medically necessary diuretics are considered a special case. Any medication that contains hormones may interfere with the mechanism of the hCG and may interfere with weight loss.

Topical Prescription Medications

Dr. Simeons mentions cortisone as an ingredient to be avoided except if medically necessary, but topical ingredients pose a special problem. Even if the active ingredient -- the actual medication -- in your ointment or cream is acceptable, the vehicle used to make it rub into your skin may interfere with the diet. The only topical oil or fat allowed while on the diet is mineral oil. If your ointment has a mineral oil base, it shouldn't pose a problem. But those with petroleum jelly bases may--especially if there is added lanolin, which is sheep fat, or other oils.

Self-Medication

The hCG diet prohibits all form of self-medication unless special permission is given. Diuretics and appetite suppressants are not permitted in any form, and only aspirin may be taken for a headache. If constipation occurs, dieters are permitted to use a suppository if it lasts longer than four days but never an oral laxative pill. Cough drops are not allowed, although vitamins may be continued as long as they are not in oil form.

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