How to Find a Diet Pill That Works

Are you looking for a little extra help to lose weight? If so, you've got plenty of options. Diet pills and supplements are widely available in vitamin stores, online and in health clubs. And several prescription diet medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

But are any of them really effective? And more importantly, are they safe? Check this list to see what choices you have before you invest. Then talk to your healthcare provider.​ Not all medications, supplements, and herbs are safe or effective for every consumer. Your primary care provider can help you make the best decision for you.


The over-the-counter diet pill alli is available without a prescription and it's easy to find in drug stores and discount markets. But it is not right for everyone. Before you take alli, be sure to learn more about the results and side effects that other users have experienced.


This diet pill is available by prescription only and has been used successfully by many people trying to lose weight. Xenical is the prescription version of alli; both are the same drug, orlistat. But as you might expect, the weight loss medication doesn't work for everyone. Before you invest, learn about Xenical costs and side effects. Then talk to your doctor about whether the diet medication is right for you.


Many people use Adipex-P (phentermine hydrochloride) to speed up the weight loss process. The prescription medication is one of the most widely used weight loss medications. The pill helps to decrease appetite so that you lose weight faster.

But just like with other medications, there are some people who shouldn't take this diet pill. Talk to your doctor to find out if it is likely to work for you and how to stay safe when you take it for weight loss.


The prescription medication Belviq (lorcaserin) activates serotonin receptors in the brain. These serotonin receptors regulate hunger. When they signal your body to feel full, you may be able to eat less and lose weight. However, in February 2020, the FDA requested that Belviq be withdrawn from the U.S. market due to safety concerns.


Qsymia is a combination of two medications: phentermine and topiramate. The two drugs work together to suppress appetite and reduce your food intake. Qysmia is not recommended for people who are pregnant or who have cardiac issues or cerebrovascular disease. As with most of these medications, Qysmia use must be paired with exercise and a nutritious, balanced diet.


This prescription drug is also a combination of two medications: naltrexone hydrochloride and bupropion hydrochloride. Contrave affects your central nervous system to increase the number of calories you burn and reduce your appetite.

The tablets are prescribed along with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program to help you lose weight. But Contrave is only approved to help certain types of patient lose weight.


Saxenda (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) is an injectable medication that is FDA-approved for weight loss. It is a medication that helps your body to feel full sooner after you eat. This may help you to eat less overall. The medication comes in a pre-filled pen and is injected into your body once each day.

You may need to personalize the dose if you choose this medication. You'll work together with your physician to reach the correct dose, generally up to 3 milligrams.


You've seen the ads and they sound really impressive. In fact, Lipozene sounds like a weight loss medication. But be aware that it is not an FDA-approved drug. It is an over-the-counter approach to weight loss, and it does not have any peer-reviewed scientific evidence of safety or effectiveness.

Garcinia Cambogia

With a little help from Dr. Oz, the supplement garcinia cambogia has flown off store shelves for years. The popular television show host gave it a boost of popularity in the early 2000s.

Unfortunately, scientific research does not support the inflated claims of garcinia cambogia's effectiveness. While some people may get a boost in their weight loss progress with the supplement, many others are likely to lose nothing but money.

Raspberry Ketones

While the popularity of raspberry ketones has faltered since the mid-2000s, some still use this supplement to promote weight loss. But again, there is almost no research to support its use for this purpose.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has taken the weight loss world by storm. Many products include it and some vitamin stores even sell it as a singular supplement. But there is little scientific evidence that people taking it lose much weight, if any.


Forskolin is used to treat a variety of conditions. The popular herbal supplement is also advertised as a "fat-blocker." There is very little research on its effectiveness for weight loss. Forskolin can also interact with certain medications.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA requests the withdrawal of the weight-loss drug Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin) from the market. Updated February 13, 2020.

  2. Novo Nordisk Inc. SAXENDA Prescribing Information. Updated October 2018.

  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health. Garcinia Cambogia. Updated January 2017.

  4. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated April 6, 2020.