Are Weight Loss Medications Safe? The Pros, Cons, and Potential Risks of Different Options


Some people use weight loss medications to successfully help them shed pounds.

However, before you begin taking any kind of weight loss medication, you should first consult your doctor. You should also ensure that you are informed about any specific medication’s pros, cons, and potential risks.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular medications on the market that many people use to help them lose weight.


Orlistat is an over-the-counter medicine that helps individuals lose weight by obstructing the absorption of fats in food. This medication, known also by its brand names Alli or Xenical, is one of the most popular options due to its effectiveness. It can be a useful aid in combination with a low-calorie, low-fat diet and regular physical activity.

Pros of Orlistat

Orlistat has been shown to have numerous benefits. First, it prevents about 25-30% of dietary fat from being absorbed by your body. Secondly, if used appropriately and combined with lifestyle changes, it can help you shed weight quite effectively.

Cons of Orlistat

On the downside, Orlistat has some negative aspects as well. It could lead to uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea or gas because undigested fat is passed out through the stool. Moreover, it might prevent the absorption of certain vitamins and nutrients.

Potential Risks

Like other medications, Orlistat is not without potential risks. Serious liver injury instances have been reported among users – although only rarely. Hence, if you experience symptoms such as yellow eyes/skin or dark urine while taking Orlistat, immediately consult with your doctor.


Known commercially as Qsymia, this combination drug assists in reducing appetite and increasing calorie burn rate.

Pros of Phentermine/Topiramate

There are several advantages associated with this medication. Besides reducing hunger pangs, this medication is especially effective in aiding significant weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Cons of Phentermine/Topiramate

There might be some drawbacks inherent to its usage. A common one can be experiencing an altered sense of taste – or a metallic taste – in your mouth. Also, it might cause constipation or insomnia in some individuals.

Potential Risks

The administration of Phentermine/Topiramate carries certain potential risks as well. There can be more severe side effects – like increased heart rate and the possibility of birth defects – if used during pregnancy. It should always be taken under professional medical supervision.


Ozempic, which is the brand name for the chemical compound Semaglutide and which is sold under the brand names Rybelsus and Wegovy, is primarily used by people with Type II Diabetes to help them manage their conditions. It also enables them to manage their diet.

Because it can also potentially help people lose weight, some people – without diabetes – have used Ozempic with the sole intent to help them achieve weight loss.

Sadly, new reports point to a potential risk of taking the medication for achieving weight loss. So, this time, we should definitely look at the potential risks of Ozempic first.

Potential Risks

Studies suggest that Ozempic can cause severe gallbladder issues.

Indeed, many users have filed an Ozempic gallstone lawsuit after taking the medication for weight loss and experiencing gallbladder problems. Due to this risk, we highly recommend you do not take Ozempic for losing weight.

Pros of Ozempic

Yes, Ozempic can promote weight loss by reducing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness. But with the risk of potentially developing gallbladder problems, the pros do not outweigh the cons.

Cons of Ozempic

Taking Ozempic could also cause side effects like nausea and diarrhea.


Naltrexone/Bupropion, which is marketed as Contrave, is another popular weight loss medication. It is a combination drug that targets two areas of the brain to help suppress hunger and cravings.

Pros of Naltrexone/Bupropion

Primarily, it offers key advantages like reducing food cravings and helping in considerable weight loss when coupled with a balanced diet and physical activity regime.

Cons of Naltrexone/Bupropion

On the downside, it may bring about side effects such as nausea or vomiting. Some people might also experience headaches or dizziness.

Potential Risks

A potential risk associated with Naltrexone/Bupropion that is definitely worth pointing out is that it can sometimes increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts – especially among young adults.