Which Weight Loss Medications Work Best?

Phentermine & Tenuate

Both Phentermine and Tenuate are FDA-approved weight loss medications. For most individuals, these are very safe options that can be added to any of our medically monitored weight loss programs. Phentermine and Tenuate are generally well tolerated with few side effects. The FDA has approved Phentermine and Tenuate for short-term (3 months) treatment of obesity (BMI > 30); however, many Obesity Medicine Specialists use Phentermine and Tenuate for longer duration, and even as long-term maintenance drugs.  For individuals with a BMI from 27 to 30, Phentermine and Tenuate may be appropriate if there are other weight related medical problems, like diabetes, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

All weight loss medications like Phentermine, Tenuate and Qsymia work much better as part of a weight loss program.  It is critical to address foods, behaviors and activity in conjunction with the use of these medications to achieve the desired results.


Qsymia was approved for long-term treatment of obesity by the FDA in the Fall of 2012.  Qsymia is a combination of Phentermine (above) with another medication called Topiramate.  This combination is highly effective in helping people lose weight and keep it off.  The indications are similar to Phentermine.  It is important to note that the Topiramate component of Qsymia is known to cause fetal harm; therefore, it is important for women of childbearing potential to discuss highly effective methods of contraception to be used in conjunction with Qsymia, and to monitor initially and monthly with pregnancy testing.


Belviq was also approved for long-term use by the FDA in the Fall of 2012 for the long-term treatment of obesity.  Belviq works in our brains increasing the release of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in appetite regulation.  It should be available sometime in the first half of 2013.  We’ll update this page as more information becomes available.

Other weight loss medications including Contrave

In addition to the above, there are many other medications which are known to have weight loss as a side effect.  Sometimes we can use these medications to help achieve weight loss.  In particular, if somebody has other conditions which may benefit from treatment, often we can hit two birds with one stone.  For example, Wellbutrin is an antidepressant known to help with weight loss.  Topiramate is a drug used in the treatment of migraine headaches and in seizure prevention.  It too is known to take off weight.  (Note that it is “off-label” to use Wellbutrin or Topiramate specifically for weight loss).

What does the future hold?

There is a lot of research on new treatments that will be helpful for an individual not only to lose weight but to help keep it off.  One company is performing clinical trials on a new compound called Contrave which is a combination of Wellbutrin (above) and Naltrexone.  There should be more information on this drug by October, 2014.  Several others are in the works and we’ll update this page as more information becomes available.

Successful Life Long Weight Loss is Possible!

For many patients losing weight or maintaining weight loss, controlling the diet can be difficult. Dieters often find themselves constantly dwelling on what they should and shouldn’t eat, and after trying to restrict calories all day, overeat at night. Appetite suppressant medications like Phentermine and Tenuate can be very helpful to keep the dieter on track and in control.

Phentermine and Tenuate (and the other weight loss medications listed above) are very safe medications for most individuals and have been approved by the FDA for use in weight loss for over 50 years.

Appetite suppressant medications are not appropriate for all dieters and will be prescribed only if deemed an appropriate treatment option by our medical staff.