Topic Overview

Many non-prescription products for weight loss are available at drugstores and supermarkets and over the Internet. Many of these have never been proved effective. And those that are effective often come with warnings. For example, many diet pills promote water loss from the body and may lead to dehydration or loss of essential minerals.

Non-prescription appetite suppressants often work by making you less hungry.

  • Do not use these non-prescription medicines if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney problems, thyroid problems, glaucoma, or depression.
  • Appetite suppressants are only intended for use for a few weeks. But control of obesity is a lifelong activity. It is costly and possibly dangerous to depend on the use of these medicines to control your weight for long periods of time. If you are going to use these drugs to help you lose weight, be sure you also make healthy changes to your diet and get regular exercise.
  • Tell your doctor about any other prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements you are taking. These medicines could affect other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes or change your blood pressure or cholesterol or both.

Some people use water-loss pills (diuretics, such as Diurex) to lose weight. But these pills only get rid of water and do not reduce the amount of fat in your body. Using water-loss pills this way is not recommended and can be dangerous.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy

Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015