Using Appetite Suppressants to Lose Weight

Appetite suppressant pills on countertop next to measuring tape

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Appetite suppressants are drugs that work on the brain to fool it into thinking that it is not hungry. Appetite suppressants act primarily on the neurochemical transmitters of the central nervous system to reduce food intake. Prescription appetite suppressants may be used in addition to a healthful diet and increased physical activity to achieve and maintain significant weight loss.

While some are intended for short-term use, others are meant to be used for the long-term. Some natural (non-prescription) products also claim to help suppress appetite to help you lose weight.

What Is an Appetite Suppressant?

Dieters often see appetite suppressants advertised in magazines or online. Generally, the term "appetite suppressant" refers to a prescription medication that helps you to feel less hungry so that you lose weight. But the term is also used by some herbal and natural diet pill makers to describe plant-based, nonprescription products that aim to curb hunger.

While appetite suppressants may help some dieters slim down, they may not work for everyone. There are many reasons that we eat too much, and hunger is just one of them.

Appetite suppressants do not target emotional eating, mindless eating, or sedentary behavior, all of which are also commonly associated with overweight and obesity.

Medications That Curb Your Appetite

There are several FDA-approved medications for weight loss. Many of these diet pills are appetite suppressants and help promote weight loss by targeting hunger. These weight loss aids are available only with a prescription.


Belviq (lorcaserin) works to control appetite and metabolism by activating serotonin receptors that regulate hunger. By helping to control your appetite, Belviq may help you feel full after you've eaten less food. It is available by prescription to patients with a BMI of 30 or a body mass index of 27 along with an obesity-related condition.


Contrave is an extended-release combination of two FDA-approved medications: naltrexone hydrochloride and bupropion hydrochloride. It affects the central nervous system to reduce your appetite and curb cravings. The diet pill is prescribed along with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program to help people lose weight.


Adipex-P, Lomaira, and Suprenza (phentermine): Known by many brand names, phentermine is one of the oldest medications for weight loss. Phentermine's side effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, sleeplessness, and nervousness.


Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate) is an extended-release capsule that suppresses appetite and reduces your food intake. If you have a BMI over 30 or a body mass index of 27 and higher along with a weight-related condition, your doctor may prescribe this product. The medication needs to be taken along with lifestyle modifications for sustained weight loss.


Saxenda (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) is an injectable medicine that helps dieters to feel full sooner so that they eat less and lose weight. Saxenda can be used by obese patients (a BMI of 30 or more) or by patients who have a BMI of 27 or more and a weight-related medical condition such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

In addition to these diet pills, there are other prescription weight loss medications that may help you to lose weight. But they use different methods to promote weight loss.

Natural Appetite Suppressants

There are some products available online and in health food stores, pharmacies, and vitamin shops that claim to be natural appetite suppressants. Fiber, for example, helps you to feel full longer after you eat. For this reason, some fiber supplement makers call it a natural appetite suppressant. 

If you're considering an herbal product to curb your hunger, be sure to gather all the facts before you buy it. You may even want to talk to your physician or pharmacist before you buy one, or some, of them. Some products are expensive and may not be as effective as you'd like them to be.

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