Appetite suppressants are drugs that work on the brain to fool it into thinking that it is not hungry. They act primarily on the neurochemical transmitters of the central nervous system to reduce appetite and hunger to reduce food intake. Prescription appetite suppressants may be used in addition to a healthful diet and increased physical activity to achieve and maintain significant weight loss.
While some are intended for short-term use, others are meant to be used long-term. In addition to prescription medications, there are over-the-counter and “natural” supplement products available that claim to help suppress appetite and help you lose weight.
What Is an Appetite Suppressant?
Generally, the term “appetite suppressant” refers to a prescription medication that helps you to feel less hungry so that you eat less and lose weight. Some herbal and natural diet pill makers also use the term to describe plant-based, nonprescription products that aim to curb hunger.
You may see appetite suppressants advertised in magazines or online. While appetite suppressants may help some lose weight, they may not work for everyone. There are many reasons people maintain or gain weight, and the amount of food you eat is just one factor.
Appetite suppressants do not target emotional eating, mindless eating, or sedentary behavior, all of which also have relationship with excess weight and obesity.
How Do They Work?
Appetite suppressants work in several ways. Some suppressants make you feel less hungry or full sooner, whereas others make it difficult for your body to absorb dietary fat.However, neither prescription nor natural appetite suppressants are a replacement for certain lifestyle changes to achieve weight loss.
According to a systematic and clinical review of long-term drug use for obesity treatment, medications resulted in a greater average weight loss than the placebos when combined with lifestyle interventions.
Diet and lifestyle changes can be challenging to make, which is why many people opt for a dietary supplement as a means of weight loss. However, experts concur that consuming a healthy diet and maintaining regular physical activity is the basis for long-term weight loss.
Before starting any appetite suppressant—prescription or over-the-counter—discuss with your doctor any underlying medical diagnoses, previous medical emergencies, current medications, and general concerns that could interfere with the suppressant.
Certain prescription appetite suppressants caution use among people with heart disease, high or uncontrolled blood pressure, glaucoma, a history of eating disorders, or hyperthyroidism.