If you’re struggling to lose weight through diet and exercise alone, you may be considering weight-loss medications such as Phentermine, Orlistat, or Semaglutide. While these prescription weight-loss drugs can be effective for some individuals, they are not without potential side effects.
In this guide, we’ve reviewed some of the best natural alternatives to anti-obesity medications. These natural weight-loss pills may help you boost metabolism, suppress appetite, and lose weight without the side effects associated with prescription weight-loss medicine.
Best Alternatives to Weight Loss Medication
- PhenQ: Best natural alternative to weight loss medications
- Leanbean: Best diet pills for women
- Capsiplex BURN: Best weight management pills for men
#1. PhenQ: Best Weight Loss Pills Overall
We chose PhenQ as one of the best weight loss medications because of its all-natural formula that targets five key areas of metabolic health. Unlike prescription weight loss drugs that can cause nasty side effects, PhenQ is gentle on the body, making it a great choice for anyone who struggles with being overweight and obese.
PhenQ contains science-backed ingredients that are clinically proven to help with chronic weight management. Perks of taking this weight loss drug include:
- Reduces cravings for lowered food intake at mealtimes
- Boosts your metabolism to stop weight gain in its tracks
- Helps you shed excess weight for a slimmer, trimmer look
- Balances mood and energy levels for extra motivation at work or school
- May stop fat cells from growing
According to customers, PhenQ really does help people lose weight. Take a look at what a few reviewers have to say about these dietary supplements:
- “After trying countless diet and exercise plans, PhenQ helped me lose weight when nothing else worked.”
- “After just two weeks, I lost 14 pounds and went from a size 12 to a size 10.”
- “I’ve lost three dress sizes in just a few weeks using PhenQ. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
- “PhenQ helped me achieve my goals of losing belly fat and my love handles.”
If you’re not quite convinced, head over to PhenQ’s website and check out customers’ before-and-after pictures. One glance tells you all you need to know about PhenQ’s health benefits!
A-Lacys Reset is the key ingredient in PhenQ. This blend, consisting of alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, and cysteine, has a powerful thermogenic effect that suppresses appetite, reduces excess weight, and helps you maintain all-day energy levels.
Other ingredients in PhenQ include:
- Capsimax Powder, which supports the body’s natural fat-burning abilities
- Chromium picolinate, which slashes food cravings so you take in fewer calories
- Caffeine to reduce fatigue, improve reaction time, and help your body use food as energy rather than turning it into fat
- Nopal cactus for a feeling of satiety
- L-carnitine fumarate, which combats tiredness and encourages your body to use stored fat as energy
- B vitamins for energy
- Iodine for a balanced metabolism
- InnoSlim (a blend of astragalus and ginseng) to promote the release of fat-burning hormones
One bottle of PhenQ will cost you $69.99. When you order two bottles, you’ll get one free. Order three bottles for $209, and PhenQ throws in another two for free. All orders come with free shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee.
#2. Leanbean: Best Appetite Suppressant for Women
We picked Leanbean as one of the best alternatives to prescription diet pills for women. This formula is tailor-made for women and comes highly recommended to treat overweight individuals by ex-pro surfer Bree Kleintop.
According to customers, these weight loss supplements really work, and the before-and-after photos on Leanbean’s website are very convincing. Reviewers have this to say:
- “My overall mood has increased, as well as my energy. And no side effects! It doesn’t make me feel anxious or lightheaded like other diet pills do.”
- “I was bloating constantly, but with Leanbean, I only bloated once or twice a month. I was beyond impressed.”
- “It gives me more energy throughout the day. Even my kids have noticed!”
- “I gained a lot of weight during the pandemic, but I couldn’t believe how much body fat I lost with Leanbean.”
Benefits of taking Leanbean to lower body weight and maintain weight loss include:
- A slimmer, more toned figure
- Extra energy without the use of dangerous stimulants
- Regulate appetite by feeling fuller for longer
- Stable blood sugar levels
One thing we like about Leanbean is that it’s made in Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-registered facilities and held to the highest quality standards in line with good manufacturing practices (GMP).
The main ingredient in Leanbean is glucomannan (3,000 milligrams), which contributes to weight loss in conjunction with lifestyle changes and a low-fat diet. Glucomannan comes from Konjac fiber and forms a gel in your stomach to help you feel fuller for longer.
Other ingredients in Leanbean include:
- Choline for a boost to metabolism
- Vitamins B6 and B12
- Green coffee (40 milligrams) to give you more energy for physical activity
- Acai berry (50 milligrams), which may boost brain function and have an anti-cancer effect
Leanbean is easy to take. Simply swallow two capsules with a glass of water three times a day. The company recommends taking its weight loss medications before meals to give the glucomannan a chance to work.
For a 30-day supply of Leanbean (180 capsules), you’ll pay $59.99. The best deal is the company’s Complete Bundle, which costs $189.97 and comes with four bottles, plus a free meal plan and workout guide. Both the bundle and the two-month supply ship free, and all orders have a 90-day money-back guarantee.
#3. Capsiplex BURN: Best Diet Pills for Men
We chose Capsiplex BURN as one of the best weight loss medications because it’s specially formulated for men. This supplement is perfect for men in the cutting phase who struggle with uncontrollable hunger and fatigue.
Cutting is a demanding time for men who want to achieve weight loss, and most struggle to get through it without superhuman discipline. BURN makes the cutting process easier by helping you shed weight in eight different ways without sacrificing muscle mass. Plus, unlike prescription weight loss and diabetes medications, you’re unlikely to experience any serious side effects.
Customers say that this isn’t a miracle drug, but with lifestyle changes, you could definitely see significant weight loss. Check out what reviewers who have lost weight have to say:
- “I’ve tried other products to help with my weight-related condition, and this is by far my favorite.”
- “By using BURN consistently, I shed a lot of fat from around my abdomen.”
- “I’ve used it for a few weeks and noticed a more toned body overall.”
- “I definitely noticed a decreased appetite. I’m not reaching for snacks as often anymore.”
Here’s how BURN helps with losing weight:
- Taps into stubborn fat reserves to use them for energy
- Crushes cravings and keeps your appetite in check
- Fights fatigue so you can work out longer and harder
- Preserves lean muscle mass
- Can help you get shredded in just 12 weeks
BURN combines nine heavy-hitting ingredients to give your body the boost it needs to lose weight:
- Capsimax to rev up energy expenditure by up to 6%
- InnoSlim, which reduces gluten uptake so you absorb fewer calories
- Caffeine, which raises your basal metabolic rate (BMR)
- Vitamins B3, B6, and B12
- Iodine for thyroid support (helpful for people with thyroid-related chronic disease, such as hyperthyroidism)
- Chromium to improve insulin sensitivity and destroy cravings
- L-tyrosine, an amino acid that controls motivation and focus
- L-arginine, which boosts blood flow to muscles
- Piperine (derived from black pepper), which may boost nutrient absorption by up to 2,000%
Capsiplex makes every batch of its weight management supplements in GMP-certified facilities and complies with all FDA drug safety communication regulations. The product is also free from soy, gluten, and animal products, so it’s safe for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
To use this weight loss drug, take two capsules 30 minutes before a meal or physical activity. If you maintain good lifestyle changes, you could see serious results in three months or less.
A one-month supply of BURN will run you $64.99, and if you buy the two-month supply for $129.99, you’ll get one bottle free. The three-month supply comes with two free bottles and costs $194.99. Capsiplex offers free shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee for all orders.
Weight Loss Medications
While the above are the best alternatives to prescription diet pills, they aren’t right for everyone. Consider these other medications. Some require a prescription, so talk to your healthcare providers if you’re interested in trying one.
Phentermine (Lomaira, Adipex-P)
Phentermine is one of several prescription drugs for weight loss that works by controlling your appetite. It can lower body weight by either making you feel fuller for longer or causing you to feel less hungry overall.
Phentermine is ideal for people who are overweight or obese and struggle to lose weight through diet and exercise alone. As with some other prescription weight loss drugs, healthcare professionals often only prescribe it for up to 12 weeks due to its potential for abuse.
The most common side effects include:
- Faster heart rate
Contrave is a prescription weight loss drug that pairs Bupropion, an antidepressant, with Naltrexone, an opiate agonist. These anti-obesity medications work together to balance the chemicals in your brain, which could influence your appetite and, therefore, how much you eat. Doctors also prescribe this drug as part of a treatment plan for opiate addiction and smoking cessation. Some offer it to treat depression.
Doctors recommend Contrave for people who have severe obesity. However, these prescription medications have a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration, which means certain people might have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. Other side effects include:
- Headache, dizziness, and dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Blurred vision
- Muscle spasms
Saxenda is an injectable medication for weight loss that’s suitable for both children and adults who are overweight and obese. As with other medications, you’ll need to maintain a healthy lifestyle while using this drug.
In addition to mild side effects such as bloating, headache, abdominal pain, and itching at the injection site, Saxenda can cause serious health problems, such as:
- Fast heart rate
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Thyroid cancer
- Severe liver injury (acute pancreatitis)
- Gallbladder disease
Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
Orlistat is a weight loss drug that’s available both via prescription and OTC. It belongs to a class of medications called lipase inhibitors. Unlike other weight management medications that act on the brain to control appetite, Orlistat blocks your body from absorbing some of the fat you eat.
That doesn’t give you a hall pass to eat all you want, though. Without making lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and eating well, you could still gain weight.
Some people shy away from taking Orlistat because it can cause uncomfortable digestive issues, such as greasy stools, stomach pain, and an urgent need to have a bowel movement.
Qsymia is a prescription weight management drug that helps people lose weight by curbing their appetite. Qsymia is essentially the same drug as Phentermine, with the addition of Topiramate. Healthcare workers often prescribe Topiramate for epilepsy, but it works well to treat overweight individuals, too.
Qsymia is ideal for those who have health problems related to being overweight and obese, such as low blood sugar, heart disease, and uncontrolled high blood pressure. Your healthcare provider may prescribe it to you if you take diabetes medication or drugs to lower blood pressure.
Although Qsymia has health benefits when it comes to treating severe obesity, this drug does have potentially dangerous side effects. One of these is the risk of birth defects. Other side effects include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sleep problems
- Fast heart rate
- Severe liver injury
Wegovy is a class of prescription weight loss drugs designed for people with a body mass index over 30. After a completed safety review, the FDA approved these anti-obesity medications in 2021 to treat overweight individuals who have weight-related health problems, such as high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar.
If you’re taking medication to treat diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or other weight-related chronic disease, your healthcare provider may prescribe Wegovy or other Semaglutide-containing products to you.
Wegovy comes in an injectable pen that you use once per week. Like other medications that are GLP-1 receptor agonists, Wegovy works by regulating your appetite. That means you have a reduced risk of overeating at meals.
Side effects of these weight loss drugs include:
- Low blood sugar
- Flu-like symptoms
- Allergic reaction
- Fast heart rate
Who Should Consider Using Weight Loss Medicine?
Anyone who struggles with losing weight despite lifestyle changes, such as physical activity and a good diet, should consider trying weight loss medications. Certain weight loss drugs may also treat depression, high blood pressure, and other conditions related to being overweight and obese. A few also treat alcohol use disorder and other chronic diseases.
Weight loss drugs are available over the counter and by prescription only. Doctors generally give prescription medications to people with a body mass index over 30 (or over 27 with weight-related health conditions).
If you have trouble with weight management and want to try anti-obesity medications, talk to your healthcare provider.
Will I Regain Weight After Discontinuing Weight Loss Medication?
Whether you’ll experience weight gain after discontinuing weight loss medications depends on the specific drug you take. Some prescription medications, such as Wegovy, treat overweight individuals by controlling their appetite. When you stop taking these weight loss drugs, your appetite comes back, and with that, you may put on body weight.
In fact, without lifestyle changes, it’s possible that you could regain more weight than you initially had before starting on weight loss drugs. If you intend to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll need to keep up with exercise and limit how much you eat.
Are Weight Loss Drugs a Substitute for Diet and Exercise?
Weight loss medications are definitely not a substitute for diet and exercise. They can help you feel full or less hungry, but they’re not a miracle cure. That means you can’t dig into the ice cream and still expect to lose weight while taking your prescription medications.
To keep the body weight off, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and stay away from too many sweet and salty snacks. Exercise is also an important part of any weight management program (if you have high blood pressure or take diabetes medications, though, talk to healthcare professionals before starting an exercise plan).
What Are the Common Side Effects From Prescription Weight Loss Pills?
Although prescription medications must undergo a completed safety review, that doesn’t mean these drugs are totally without risk. Common side effects of weight management drugs can include:
- Indigestion, nausea, and vomiting
- Nervousness and irritability
- Trouble sleeping
- Flu-like symptoms
- Itchiness (if using injectable weight loss drugs)
Weight loss medications can also have severe side effects, such as:
- Mood changes, such as new or worsening depression
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- Kidney failure
- Birth defects
Before using any prescription medications, talk to your healthcare provider about side effects and review any FDA drug safety communication. This is especially important if you’re pregnant, smoke, drink alcohol, or have high blood pressure (or another chronic condition).
Prescription Diet Pills vs. Weight Loss Injections
Whether they come in capsule or injectable form, most prescription medications for weight loss work similarly. They can either:
- Increase the amount of fat you burn
- Decrease the amount of fat your body absorbs
- Make you feel fuller so you eat less
The main difference is the form in which they come. Capsules are easy to take, and you’ll usually need to swallow one or two a day to lose weight. Injectable weight loss medications, on the other hand, come in a pre-filled pen. If your doctor prescribes Liraglutide, for example, you’ll have to take it once daily. Semaglutide only requires injections once per week.
Are Weight Loss Medications Safe for Long-Term Use?
Many weight loss medications are safe for long-term use, and with certain ones, you won’t lose much body weight unless you take them for 12 weeks or more. Prescription drugs approved for long-term use include:
How Long Does It Take To See Results From Medication for Weight Loss?
How long it takes to see results from weight management drugs depends on the drug used to treat overweight individuals. Here’s how long it might take to lose weight when taking certain weight management drugs:
- Orlistat: Three to six months
- Saxenda: Two weeks
- Contrave: Four weeks
- Qsymia: 12 weeks (doctors recommend stopping the drug if you haven’t lost weight by the 12-week mark)
- Wegovy: 12 weeks
- Imcivree: 14 weeks
Fat loss is never guaranteed with any drug, though, and as mentioned above, you’ll need to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you want any changes to stick. For proper weight management:
- Exercise as often as you’re able (and as much as your doctor says it’s safe for you to). Ideally, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
- Set realistic goals if you’re new to exercising, such as taking a 10-minute walk a few times a week. Setting unrealistic goals, such as planning to run around the block without a break, can make you feel defeated and cause you to give up on your goal to lose weight.
- Consider joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer. Your trainer can teach you how to safely exercise and hold you accountable when it comes to your diet and workout regimen.
- For beverages, stick with water and avoid soda and other sugary drinks. Limit your juice intake, too. Juice has a bit of a health halo, but it’s loaded with calories and sugar that will make you put on weight.
- Talk to a dietician if you’re not sure what to eat to lose weight. Nutritionists know a lot about food, too, but be aware that they generally have less education than registered dieticians do.
- Keep a food diary and write down every morsel that you put in your mouth. This may seem tedious, but it can help you get a better idea of where all those calories are coming from. Most people have no idea how many calories they consume daily, and what you learn might shock you. If you don’t want to keep a paper diary, you can also try an online tool, such as MyFitnessPal.
Another big tip is to swap unhealthy snacks for more nutritious ones. Try swapping:
- Cookies for fresh fruit
- Pepperoni pizza for diced cherry tomatoes and cheese
- Pasta for zucchini noodles
- Sour cream for Greek yogurt
- Whole eggs for egg whites
What Is the Difference Between Prescription Weight Loss Drugs and Over-The-Counter Supplements?
The main difference between prescription weight loss medications and OTC supplements is that supplements don’t require approval from the FDA. Many supplements claim that they can treat overweight individuals, but there’s very little evidence that some of them do what they claim.
Prescription weight loss drugs, on the other hand, must go through rigorous testing to ensure that they’re safe and effective. Note, however, that “safe” doesn’t necessarily mean “risk-free.” Prescription medications are powerful drugs that change the way your body works. It’s not uncommon for people to have bad side effects, such as vomiting, insomnia, and a rapid heart rate, while taking them.
And the potential problems don’t stop there. Although these drugs can indeed help you shed those stubborn pounds, they can also put you at risk of developing certain cancers. Saxenda, for instance, carries a risk of thyroid cancer.
Some drugs, such as Qsymia, aren’t suitable for pregnant people. That’s because they can cause a condition called cleft palate in babies. These drugs may also pass through breast milk to nursing infants.
These risks are why natural OTC supplements can be so appealing to those who want to lose weight. Although they don’t have to go through testing and approval as prescription weight loss drugs do, they generally carry far fewer side effects. The worst side effect you might notice is a bit of jitteriness if your supplement contains caffeine.
Are Weight Loss Drugs Covered by Health Insurance?
Insurance may cover certain weight loss drugs, but that could soon be changing. Due to skyrocketing popularity and the cost of these drugs, many insurance companies are shying away from covering them for customers.
Some employers are refusing to cover weight loss medications under their company insurance policy, too, largely due to the price. For instance, the private healthcare system Ascension stopped covering Wegovy in July 2023. Without insurance, the estimated cost of Wegovy is $1,350 per month.
If you’re on Medicare, you’re out of luck because this program doesn’t cover any weight loss medications. Medicaid might cover certain GLP-1 drugs, though. Some insurers only cover GLP-1 drugs if your doctor prescribes them to treat diabetes.
Talk to your insurance company before you see your doctor to find out if it covers the drug you want.
Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Anti-Obesity Medication?
It’s not a good idea to drink alcohol while taking anti-obesity medication. This is because mixing alcohol with these drugs can cause dangerous side effects, such as liver damage and high blood sugar levels. You have a higher risk of side effects if you have diabetes or another chronic condition.
It’s also not wise to drink alcohol while on these pills because alcohol can hinder your weight loss. Alcohol is high in calories, and your body prioritizes burning off calories from alcohol before it uses food calories for energy. Plus, it can make you hungrier and cause you to make poor snacking decisions.
When Should I Consider Weight Loss Surgery?
If you have a BMI of 40 or higher, weight loss surgery could be an option for you. You may also meet the requirements if you meet all of these conditions:
- Have a BMI of at least 35
- Have at least one weight-related health problem
- Have been trying to lose weight for at least six months with no success
Before you consider weight loss surgery, you may want to try one of the best alternatives to prescription diet pills on our list instead. Check out the options above today.