Weight loss medicine: when can it be used? See options

The market is full of products that promise a quick and effective weight loss. Therefore, choosing the best option is not always easy.

Among the drugs sold in pharmacies, for example, many require a prescription, as they can have serious side effects.

Understand more about the remedies for weight loss and its risks in the following text!


What are weight loss remedies?

Weight loss drugs are commonly indicated to treat patients with obesity or overweight related to other problems, such as diabetes and heart problems. Most of them need a medical prescription and have several risks associated with their use.

They should not be used by people who are not overweight , as in these cases, their risks are greater than their benefits.

These are not magic pills. Weight loss remedies have no effect on their own .

Its use must be combined with life changes, such as exercise and dietary reeducation . If these factors are ignored, patients face a high risk of regaining weight after using the drug.

These remedies usually have a short-term effect, promoting weight loss for a period that does not last much longer than 6 months.

After that, it is believed that the body creates a kind of tolerance and the medicine will no longer have the same effect, in some cases even leading to weight gain.

Many of these medications are also antidepressants, so their use must be controlled, with prescription retention and must be done with medical supervision . Never self-medicate . These medications can pose health risks.

They are usually taken in pills or capsules that should be taken 1 to 2 times a day.


There are, in general, 3 types of drugs to lose weight : appetite suppressants, anorectic and fat blockers.

Not all are marketed in Brazil and some are even banned by ANVISA due to their side effects. Check out:

Appetite suppressants

These drugs act directly on the nervous system by increasing the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. This results in reduced sleep and appetite.

Among its side effects, they can make the patient more agitated and can cause addiction.

Check out some examples of this class of remedies:

  • Sibutramine ;
  • Bupropion ;
  • Victoza ;
  • Belviq ;
  • Qnexa;
  • Tesofensina;
  • Hoodia Gordonii;
  • Naltrex.


As the name implies, this class of drugs seeks to induce anorexia , in addition to increasing metabolism.

However, they are very dangerous because their side effects are similar to some drugs like cocaine and crack.

Check out some examples:

  • Femproporex;
  • Mazindol;
  • Amfepramone;
  • Fenfluramine;
  • Phenylpropanolamine.

Fat Blockers

These drugs prevent the action of lipase enzymes, which are responsible for the breakdown of fat. They prevent fat from being absorbed, causing it to be eliminated directly in the stool.

Check out some of these medications:

  • Xenical ;
  • Orlistat ;
  • Lipiblock .

Prescription Drugs


In fact, fluoxetine is a treatment for depression . However, it can be used for weight loss, as it helps to reduce binge eating.

The use of fluoxetine is restricted to patients who have obesity combined with depression , or else to patients who have obesity related to a medical condition calledGeneralized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Therefore, the patient must have a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 30 and a diagnosis of depression or GAD made by a psychiatrist.

The drug can help to reduce binge eating, but it should normally be used in conjunction with dietary reeducation treatments.

Side effects

Among the side effects that fluoxetine can cause are diarrhea , nausea, tiredness ( fatigue ), headache and insomnia . In addition, studies show that after 6 months of treatment, the weight loss caused by the substance can be easily reversed, that is, the patient has a high chance of gaining weight again.


The Sertraline  is an antidepressant drug and its action is similar to fluoxetine. This remedy is very little used for weight loss purposes, as it can cause binge eating when ingested in large quantities.

Because it is an antidepressant, it should be prescribed only for people suffering from obesity associated with depression , or else in cases of obesity related to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Side effects

The most common side effects of using sertraline include insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness , headache, diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea (feeling sick), ejaculation disorders and fatigue (tiredness).


Bupropion is the most widely used antidepressant to treat obesity, as it helps to control binge eating. It works similarly with smokers who want to quit. It can only be used under express medical advice.

It is a controlled-use medication with prescription retention. It can only be indicated for patients who have some type of psychiatric problem, such as depression or binge eating.

If the patient does not try hard to adopt a diet and exercise in his routine, this medication is contraindicated.

Side effects

Bupropion can cause insomnia, dry mouth, headache and, in more severe cases, seizures , tachycardia, hypertension, hives and skin blemishes.


Sibutramine acts on some neurotransmitters such as serotonin , norepinephrine and dopamine, to reduce appetite.

It is mainly indicated for patients with a BMI greater than 30 and works by reducing appetite and increasing metabolism.

Side effects

This medicine is especially contraindicated for people with diabetes, hypertension or increased risk for cardiovascular disease . Its side effects include dry mouth, constipation, headache and insomnia.


The Saxenda has as active ingredient to liraglutide, a substance also used to treat diabetes. It turns out that recent research has found that this active ingredient works by reducing the feeling of hunger, in addition to improving blood glucose levels.

It was approved by Anvisa in 2016 and its use is a little more complicated than the others. Instead of being used orally, Saxenda should be injected directly into the skin.

This medicine  can only be used under the express medical indication .

It is indicated to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise in adult patients who have a BMI above 30 or a BMI above 27 with some condition related to excess weight, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes or changes in cholesterol.

People with metabolic disorders can better accept this medication, as it does not affect the pancreas. In addition, it does not cause changes in the mood of patients, unlike other remedies for weight loss.

Side effects

It can cause the development of pancreatitis , gallbladder stones and risk of hypoglycemia , especially in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Lorcasterine hydrochloride

The lorcasserina hydrochloride acts in the brain by inhibiting appetite and increase satiety and accelerate metabolism and can only be used under medical supervision .

It is indicated for obese adults, with a BMI equal to or greater than 30. People with a BMI 27 or greater and who have some health problem caused by obesity can also receive the indication of the remedy.

Side effects

It can cause headache, increase in heart rate, respiratory infections, sinusitis , nasopharyngitis, nausea, depression, anxiety and propensity for suicide. Cases of breast swelling have also been observed in women and men, nipple discharge or penile erection lasting more than 4 hours (priapism).

Amphetamines (Amfepramone, Femproporex and Mazindol)

Amphetamines are very dangerous drugs and are part of a class of medicines called anorectic, since they act directly in reducing appetite.

Its commercialization was banned by Anvisa in 2011, as there are not enough studies to prove its safety and efficacy and also because they have many dangerous side effects, being similar to that of other drugs such as cocaine and crack.

Side effects

They do not improve the patient’s metabolism and do not even promote dietary re-education. In addition, they can cause behavioral changes such as anxiety, insomnia, irritability, tremors and depression.

Curiosity:  amphetamines also act as stimulants and were widely used during World War II by Nazi soldiers, in order to make them more alert on the battlefield.


The xenical  tua inhibiting the lipase enzymes, which are produced in the pancreas and are responsible for the breakdown of fat molecules. In this way, it causes approximately 30% of the fat that would be absorbed by the body to be eliminated directly in the feces.

Nowadays it can only be purchased with a prescription and is only indicated for obese patients .

The product can help reduce LDL and, because it does not interfere with metabolism or satiety, it has no side effects as severe as other medications.

Side effects

It can cause incontinence and loose stools, in addition to flatulence and intestinal pain. In addition, fat- soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K, may cease to be absorbed, causing a vitamin deficiency.

Over-the-counter remedies

There are also options for medications that can be purchased at pharmacies and drugstores without a prescription:


The Chitosan  is a natural fiber of animal origin found in the shell of crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster and crab. It is widely used for weight loss purposes, as it is capable of grouping up to a volume of fat up to 8 times greater than its weight.

This set of fibers and fats is naturally eliminated by the body through the digestive tract, without the fat being absorbed by the body.

It is indicated for people who want to lose weight in a more “natural” way, without the use of drugs that interfere with appetite and other neurological functions.

Side effects

Although it is a more “natural” option, its effects are quite undesirable, such as nausea and blurred vision, in addition to eye discomfort, dizziness, dermatitis , weakening of the nails, hair loss, muscle fatigue, digestive disorders and, in the elderly, it can cause hallucination.

Therefore, it is not indicated for hemophiliacs, as it can cause bleeding due to the high concentration of atropine. In diabetics, it can alter the functioning of the pancreas and the production of insulin. In pregnant women, it can affect the formation of the fetus due to the high concentration of selenium.


The Orlistat  has no effect on satiety, hunger and or other metabolic mechanisms. All it does is interfere with the absorption of fat by the body, inhibiting up to 30% of it from being metabolized.

As with Chitosan, excess fat is eliminated through the stool. Because of this, this medicine is mostly used as an adjunct with other remedies for weight loss.

It is commonly indicated for people with a high fat diet and who have difficulty controlling their diet.

Side effects

It can cause diarrhea if the person ingests too much fat while using the medication.

Are there remedies to lose weight fast?

Many people look for quick-acting remedies. In fact, there are options that guarantee faster results. However, they are generally more dangerous versions, which can carry even greater risks.

A sudden loss of weight can lead to several complications, such as gall bladder , dehydration, malnutrition, low immunity and liver problems.

Talk to your doctor to make the best choice, based on your health conditions, always evaluating the possible risks and benefits.

When can they be used?

Weight loss drugs can only be used to treat obesity and for people who have a health problem caused by overweight , such as high blood pressure , type 2 diabetes or a propensity to heart problems.

It is recommended that use only with express medical indication, as these drugs have several side effects and can be harmful to health if used without control and for a long time.

Therefore, most are only sold with a medical prescription.

In all cases, its use must be combined with physical exercises and dietary reeducation , if not, its practical effect loses its meaning and the patient can regain weight and, many times, this can serve as a springboard for the person to gain weight. more.

How to use?

The methods of taking each medication will vary depending on the type of medication prescribed. Check out:

  • Fluoxetine: it is recommended to take 1 dose of 60mg per day;
  • Sertraline: doctors will usually recommend 1 tablet a day;
  • Bupropion: you will normally be advised to use 1 tablet a day;
  • Sibutramine: doctors usually recommend taking 1 capsule in the morning, on an empty stomach;
  • Saxenda: 1 injection of Saxenda per day is recommended;
  • Lorcaserin hydrochloride: doctors usually recommend taking 2 tablets a day, one before lunch and one before dinner;
  • Xenical: it is advisable to take 1 tablet before a meal;
  • Chitosan: it is recommended to take one tablet before lunch and 1 tablet before dinner;
  • Orlistat: it is recommended to take 1 tablet before a meal.


As there are many remedies for weight loss, we divide the contraindications for each one of them. Check out:


Fluoxetine is contraindicated for people with known hypersensitivity to the substance. It should also not be used in combination with Monoaminoxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) and thioridazine.

It should not be used in pregnant or breastfeeding women without the express medical advice. In patients with diabetes, its use should be controlled and closely supervised by specialists.


In order to lose weight, the drug is contraindicated for children under 18, patients with known hypersensitivity to the substance and the concomitant use with MAOIs and pimozide is prohibited.

Breastfeeding women should only use the medication after the medical evaluation concludes that the benefits outweigh the risks.


Bupropion is contraindicated for patients with known hypersensitivity to the substance or any component of the formula, patients with a history of epilepsy or seizure disorders and in the process of abrupt discontinuation of the use of sedatives or alcohol.

Patients with a current or previous diagnosis of bulimia or anorexia nervosa should not use the drug. It is also contraindicated for patients using any other medication that contains bupropion, as the risk of seizures increases with dosage.

People undergoing treatments with MAOIs should also not use bupropion.


Sibutramine is contraindicated for:

  • Patients with a history of type 2 diabetes with at least 1 other risk factor, such as medication-controlled hypertension, dyslipidemia, current smoking practice, or diabetic nephropathy with evidence of microalbuminuria;
  • Patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, tachycardia, peripheral arterial obstructive disease, arrhythmia or cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke;
  • Patients with inadequately controlled hypertension;
  • Patients with a history or presence of eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia;
  • Patients undergoing treatment with MAOIs.


It is contraindicated for people with hypersensitivity to any of the components of the formula and with chronic problems of intestinal absorption or problems with the gallbladder.


Saxenda is contraindicated for pregnant women and people with hypersensitivity to any component of the formula.


It is contraindicated for people with chronic malabsorption syndrome, cholestasis and patients with hypersensitivity to any of the components of the formula.

Side effects

The remedies for weight loss contain risks and therefore can only be taken with medical supervision.

Understand the risks related to the use of these drugs:


Since most weight loss medications are controlled, they can cause addiction.

For this reason, doctors must be very careful when prescribing and the duration of treatment.

Development of tolerance

In fact, weight loss medications may work. However, after about 6 months of treatment, most of them start to lose their effect.

Some research even supports the hypothesis that these drugs can cause weight gain with continued use.


Many patients believe that weight loss drugs are magic pills that will take effect on their own and therefore do not adapt their lifestyle.

They do not stop eating so much and do not adhere to the practice of physical exercises.

What should always be taken into account is that these drugs will only have a real effect if used with medical supervision and with changes in lifestyle, such as dietary reeducation.

Indiscriminate use

Weight loss drugs should not be used by people who are not obese or who just want to look good. As stated earlier, they are for people with a BMI over 30 or who have a BMI 27 or higher combined with problems related to overweight, such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

Vitamin deficiency

Fat blockers perceive all fats to be bad. However, if the fat is not absorbed in the correct way, this can cause problems such as vitamin deficiency, since many of them are fat-soluble.

Psychiatric and metabolism problems

Although many of the side effects are mild, many of them include increased blood pressure and heartbeat, headaches, constipation , diarrhea, insomnia, nervousness, dry mouth, irritability, among others.

Medicines that are also antidepressants have even greater associated risks, as they can lead to a number of psychiatric problems and even increase the chances of suicide.

Price and where to buy

As there are several alternatives of remedies for weight loss, their prices vary widely among themselves. Check out:

  • Fluoxetine : from R $ 9.00 to R $ 60.00;
  • Sertraline : from R $ 24.00 to R $ 80.00;
  • Bupropion : from R $ 50.00 to R $ 140.00;
  • Sibutramine : from R $ 50.00 to R $ 130.00;
  • Xenical : from R $ 109.00 to R $ 154.00 (42 capsules), from R $ 120.00 to R $ 265.00 (84 capsules);
  • Saxenda : from R $ 550.00 to R $ 860.00;
  • Orlistat : from R $ 90.00 to R $ 190.00;
  • Lorcasterine hydrochloride : around R $ 450.00;
  • Chitosan : from R $ 40.00 to R $ 60.00.

These remedies can be found in pharmacies all over Brazil or online sites such as Consulta Remédios .

Natural weight loss products and remedies

Natural products and remedies are usually made from substances that improve the functioning of the body as a whole.

It is important to note that these alternatives bring effective and more evident and lasting results when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

However, some options are contraindicated for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children and people with high blood pressure or heart problems . The ideal is always to consult a doctor or nutritionist.

Check out the alternatives:

Green tea

It is believed that green tea has the property of speeding up the metabolism and favoring the burning of fat, and can be consumed in capsules or else in the form of tea.

It is a great ally of physical exercises. You should consume 3 to 4 cups of tea a day or take 2 capsules in the morning or in the afternoon. However, it is contraindicated for people with caffeine sensitivity or with heart problems.

Goji Berry in capsules

This medicine is made from fresh fruit and can act in the body as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and you should take 1 capsule before lunch and dinner.

Phaseolamine extract

This option can neutralize starch, a substance present in foods such as potatoes, bread and rice, which is easily transformed into glucose and stored in the liver and fat cells.

A daily dose of 1,500mg per day is recommended.


It is believed that this medication is able to naturally reduce appetite. Daily doses of approximately 4,500mg are recommended.

Chromium picolinate

Chromium picolinate can have a great effect on body fat, in addition to increasing lean mass , which contributes greatly to weight loss.

However, its effects still raise doubts among many researchers , so it may be that the results are not really real.

It is recommended to take a daily dose of 200mcg per day.

Read more: How to lose belly

Home remedies

Home remedies can be an option for people who want to lose weight without using medications. They are considered safer than the others because of the minor side effects.

However, before starting any home treatment, consult a doctor or nutritionist .

Eggplant water

Cut 1 eggplant into cubes and soak in 1 liter of water overnight. In the morning, mix everything in a blender and consume throughout the day, without adding sugar.

Ginger water

Add 4 to 5 slices or 2 tablespoons of ginger zest in 1 liter of cold water, drinking the mixture throughout the day. To obtain more effective results, ginger must be changed daily.

Diuretic herbal tea

To prepare it, add 10g of artichoke , mackerel, elderberry, bay leaf and anise in 1 liter of boiling water. Turn off the heat and smother the pan, letting it rest for 5 minutes. Drink the tea throughout the day and follow the treatment for a period of 2 weeks.

Common questions

Can weight loss remedies be used in people who do not have obesity?

No!  The indication for weight loss drugs is exclusive for people who are obese or overweight related to other diseases, such as diabetes and heart problems.

People who are neither overweight nor obese should not take the drugs, as their harms often outweigh the possible benefits.

In addition, many of the remedies for weight loss are also remedies for anxiety and depression. In such cases, they should only be taken by obese patients who also have depressive conditions.

Can children take?

It depends. For most children, simple dietary re-education and physical exercise are sufficient to guarantee weight loss.

However, when obesity becomes a risk factor for the emergence of other diseases, the use of drugs can be considered. However, remedies that have an effect on the central nervous system are not the ones indicated in these cases. What can be prescribed for children, when necessary, are fat blocking drugs.

Can prolonged use cause addiction?

Even if the degree of this dependence is low, they can rather  addictive physical and psychological.

The remedies for slimming should be used only as a last resort  and together with the practice of dietary reeducation and physical exercise, so that its use is discontinued after the objectives are achieved.

Do they cause excessive sweating?

Especially thermogenic drugs, that is, which interfere with caloric expenditure and metabolism, can have this effect. However, these drugs have been little used due to their side effects.

Is there loss of lean mass?

If the use of these drugs is not done in conjunction with physical exercise, the loss of lean mass tends to happen, yes .

Weight loss drugs have many risks. Although a variety of them are used in other countries, many are banned in Brazil because of their side effects.

They should only be used by people who have a medical indication, as the risks often outweigh the benefits.

Do you want to take medicine to lose weight? Have you taken it? Tell us in the comments!