The Top 5 Diet Pills – And What You Need To Know About Them

Obesity is a growing problem worldwide. The medical community is anxious to help patients lose weight for the health benefits associated with weight reduction. Patients often have other motivations, particularly social, for trimming down.  After all, any time of year is the right time to have a beach body.

Either on their own or with the help of a physician, people will frequently use medications in an attempt to get an edge for shedding those extra pounds. Here are some of the more common choices for weight loss aids.


5. Phentermine

Diet pills meal

This medication requires a prescription which makes it not quite as popular as some of the more easily accessible choices. It belongs to a class of drugs called sympathomimetic, meaning it stimulates part of the nervous system. These medications are thought to cause weight loss by causing early satiety – feeling full with less food.

These medications can affect heart rate and blood pressure, and should be used cautiously, if at all, by people with heart problems, high blood pressure, and thyroid problems. This drug is one with a checkered history!


4. Alli

Diet pill on a fork

Orlistat was originally a prescription drug that blocks the absorption of fat from the intestine. In medical studies, it has been found to be moderately effective at helping with initial weight loss and slowing weight regain.

It is limited because significant side effects of gas, cramps, and oily diarrhea that it is often uncontrollable and embarrassing.


3. Hoodiadiet pills

Hoodia gordonii is a dietary supplement that is derived from a South African desert plant. It is supposed to suppress appetite, but here is no objective scientific data that shows that it is effective.


2. Estrin-D & Akavar 20/50


These two products are marketed toward menopausal women. They contain identical ingredients, many of which contain caffeine. The effects are similar to what one gets with caffeine from other sources.

Once again there is no good evidence to support their use for weight loss.


1. Green Coffee Ultra


This is the latest hot item on the weight reduction scene. Green coffee extract contains chlorogenic acid. This ingredient is lost when coffee beans are roasted. It appears to have some effect on glucose (sugar) metabolism which is beneficial for weight reduction. It may also have beneficial effects on blood pressure control.

So far, there have been few side effects and only those expected with caffeine. Preliminary evidence suggests that it might be helpful for losing weight but more high quality medical studies are needed.


The market and media are flooded with reports of miracle weight loss products. The expanding midsections of an ever increasing number of people are motivating many to try just about anything.

The bottom line is that if it seems too good to be true it almost certainly is.

So far, the cornerstone to healthy and sustained weight loss appears to be diet and exercise. You can judge your own situation more objectively by knowing your BMI (Body Mass Index). A BMI calculator can be located easily through any internet search engine. Plug in your height and weight for your results.  >25kg/m2 – over weight, >30kg/m2 – obese.

If you find you would like make a change, consider consulting with your doctor before starting a diet, exercise program, or any medication. This is particularly important if you have health problems with any number of things including your heart, blood pressure, diabetes, eyes, and urinary system.


References:   Drug Therapy of Obesity, accessed 4/2/2013 Green Coffee Extract Best Weight Loss and Obesity Treatments

About Doug Smith M.D.

Doug has been a full time physician for twenty-three years and continues to work in an emergency room setting. In addition to the day to day practice of medicine, he has a particular interest in medical education.
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