Some dieters can lose weight and keep it off simply by following one of Dr. Lipman’s three weight loss plans – others need the help of FDA approved medications. When considering a weight loss medication, I review your medical profile and weight goals. We then discuss the efficacy and potential side effects. Safe and effective weight loss means selecting the right medication for the right patient.

Since 1977, the FDA has approved a handful of prescription strength drugs for weight loss that either curb hunger, increase satiety or inhibit fat absorption. All of the drugs have been proven to be safe and very effective for the “right” individual to lose the weight. Here is everything you need to know about the benefits, how they work, the side effects and which ones might be the best for you.

Each overweight individual has a different reason for his weight gain—it may be eating very large meals, cravings, eating out of anxiety or boredom, or even eating in the middle of the night. You need to first identify your particular eating problem and then find a food plan that best matches your food preferences and personal requirements. The role of medication is then to assist individuals who are having difficulty with hunger, cravings and compulsive eating. Diet drugs, even the strongest, are not “magic bullets,” only “helpers”, and even the strongest pill cannot stop one from eating some very bad, readily available foods.

Dietary changes, even simple ones, always come before medications. Taking these medications, even for brief periods of time, often assists individuals in their weight loss plan. Some individuals experience fullness for the first time in their lives while others feel in control of their food and learn to make better food decisions. Many overweight people learn that they genuinely do not need as much food as they had once believed they did.

While some individuals might do well taking the drugs for only a couple of weeks to help “jump start” their weight loss plan, others may need to take them for months or even years. Since each individual who wants to lose weight has a different reason for his or her weight gain, the right drug needs to be matched with the right person—not only in choice of drugs, but dose and duration.


Qsymia is a new weight loss drug that combines two older drugs, phentermine and topamax. This is an effective drug, especially for those with cravings and compulsive eating. The feelings of fullness rather than appetite reduction may be the most significant effect. It has substantial benefits for those individuals who have a great deal of weight to lose and are willing to take the drug for long periods of time. Learn More »


Belviq is the first new prescription drug for weight loss approved by the FDA in 20 years. It is very effective in diabetics causing both weight loss and improvement in glucose control. Unlike any other diet medication it’s designed both for weight loss and weight maintenance. The drug works by controlling appetite — specifically by activating brain receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of satiety and satisfaction. Learn More »


Contrave is the third of the new weight loss medications with a release date of early fall, 2014. Similar to Qsymia, it’s a combination of two older medications (neither of which are diet medications)—bupropion (Wellbutrin) and naltrexone. When these two medications are combined together they act in the brain to reduce cravings and appetite. Ten to twenty percent weight loss has been seen in the clinical studies of this drug. Learn More »

Older Medications

The older weight loss medications have been around for many years with an established track record of efficacy and safety when used properly. They are now marketed under both generic (Phentermine, Phendimetrazine, Diethylproprion) and brand names (Ionamin®, Adipex®, Bontril®, Tenuate®). Learn More about legacy medications.