Weight Loss Drugs

Weight loss drugs, also known as prescription weight loss pills, are pharmaceutical substances designed to aid in weight loss and management. These medications are often prescribed alongside diet and exercise regimens for individuals struggling with obesity or overweight conditions.

While some weight loss drugs are available over the counter, others require a prescription from a healthcare provider. There are different types of weight loss drugs, including prescription medications like Ozempic, Qsymia, Contrave, and over-the-counter options like Hydroxycut. They each have unique mechanisms of action, costs, and potential negative effects.

Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Prescription weight loss pills are medications that are only available with a prescription from a healthcare professional. They are typically recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher or those with a BMI of 27 or higher with obesity-related conditions such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic (Semaglutide):

  • Mechanism of Action: Ozempic belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists. It works by mimicking the action of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and appetite control. It slows gastric emptying, leading to increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake.
  • Cost: Ozempic can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from $800 to $1000 per month without insurance coverage.
  • Negative Effects: Common side effects of Ozempic may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation. More severe side effects may include pancreatitis, kidney problems, and thyroid tumors.

Qsymia (Phentermine/Topiramate):

  • Mechanism of Action: Qsymia is a combination medication containing phentermine, an appetite suppressant, and topiramate, an anticonvulsant that affects appetite control centers in the brain. It works by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness.
  • Cost: The cost of Qsymia can vary, but it is generally expensive, with monthly expenses ranging from $150 to $200 without insurance coverage.
  • Negative Effects: Common side effects of Qsymia may include tingling sensations, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, and constipation. Serious side effects may include an increased heart rate, mood changes, and vision problems.

Contrave (Naltrexone/Bupropion):

  • Mechanism of Action: Contrave is a combination medication consisting of naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, and bupropion, an antidepressant and smoking cessation aid. It works by reducing food cravings and increasing energy expenditure.
  • Cost: Contrave can be moderately expensive, with monthly costs ranging from $200 to $300 without insurance coverage.
  • Negative Effects: Common side effects of Contrave may include nausea, headache, constipation, dizziness, and insomnia. More serious side effects may include increased blood pressure, seizures, and liver damage.

Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Pills

Over-the-counter weight loss pills are dietary supplements that can be purchased without a prescription. They are often marketed as natural or herbal remedies for weight loss, but their efficacy and safety may vary significantly.


  • Mechanism of Action: Hydroxycut typically contains a combination of ingredients such as caffeine, green tea extract, and other herbal extracts purported to boost metabolism and suppress appetite.
  • Cost: Hydroxycut is relatively affordable compared to prescription medications, with prices typically ranging from $20 to $50 per month.
  • Negative Effects: Common side effects of Hydroxycut may include jitteriness, insomnia, increased heart rate, digestive issues, and headaches. In some cases, severe liver damage has been reported with the use of Hydroxycut products.

Other Over-the-Counter Options:

  • There are numerous other over-the-counter weight loss pills available, including those containing ingredients like garcinia cambogia, raspberry ketones, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). However, the efficacy and safety of these products are often debated, and they may carry risks of adverse effects.

Weight loss drugs encompass a diverse range of medications and supplements designed to aid in weight reduction and management.

Prescription weight loss pills such as Ozempic, Qsymia, and Contrave are typically recommended for individuals with obesity or overweight conditions, while over-the-counter options like Hydroxycut are available to consumers without a prescription.

However, it’s essential to recognize that these drugs may come with potential negative effects, ranging from mild gastrointestinal discomfort to severe complications like liver damage or heart problems.

Before starting any weight loss medication, individuals should consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable treatment approach based on their individual health needs and considerations.

Additionally, lifestyle modifications including diet and exercise remain fundamental components of any weight loss strategy. The team at Saskatoon have your diet covered with our weekly meal prep plans. Fresh, healthy and properly portioned by our award winning chefs. Place your order once per week and pick up everything at our restaurant.