Do weight loss pills work?

An analysis of more than a hundred clinical trials of anti-obesity medications lasting up to 47 weeks found that drug-induced weight loss never exceeded more than nine pounds. Considering the cost and side effects, that’s a lot of money and risk for just a few pounds.

Since you’re not treating the underlying cause—a fattening diet—when you stop taking these drugs, the weight tends to come right back. So, you’d have to take them every day for the rest of your life. But, people do stop taking them. In fact, weight-loss meds are so disagreeable that 98 percent stopped taking them within the first year.

Learn more about the efficacy of weight-loss pills in this video:

To learn more about weight loss, visit our topic page, which covers a broad range of the latest evidence-based research.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

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