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How can I get weight loss pills?

How can I get weight loss pills?

All weight loss medications require a prescription. Before you go down the weight loss medication route, you may want to think about whether weight loss pills are right for you. Looking at the various prescription options - which will help you to achieve your weight loss goal in the safest and most effective way?

Daniel Atkinson
Medically reviewed by
Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead
Table of contents
Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022.
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The best way to find out the answer to this question is to speak to a medical professional. Whether that be your local GP, an online registered doctor or a pharmacist (although they can’t prescribe). Clinicians use certain criteria to assess your suitability for weight loss treatment. You’ll likely be asked a number of questions and have your BMI calculated.

If you come across weight loss pills that are available without a pharmacist’s or doctor’s supervision, then they’re likely to not be safe to use and should be avoided. Speaking to an expert, like a doctor or pharmacist, is the best way to get good advice. Here at Treated, we can offer a number of different weight loss medication options through an online consultation where we’ll help you choose the best one for you.

Which weight loss pills are available on prescription?

There are quite a few different weight loss treatments available on prescription. As well as prescribed weight loss pills, there is also injectable weight loss medication. The treatment options are:

  • Xenical tablets use the active ingredient orlistat to prevent some of the fat you consume from being absorbed by your body. This is a branded version of Orlistat, and as a result it tends to be a pricier option.
  • Prolistat is a generic version of Xenical, so it works in the same way but can usually be picked up for a lower price.
  • Contrave tablets contain two active ingredients: bupropion and naltrexone. And works by reducing your appetite and cravings.
  • Saxenda is not a weight loss pill, it’s an injectable medication that uses the active ingredient liraglutide to reduce your appetite and to make you feel fuller faster.
  • Ozempic is also an injectable medication that uses the active ingredient semaglutide to reduce your appetite and to increase your insulin productivity, which can make you feel fuller for longer after meals. This is currently licensed as a type 2 diabetes treatment, but it’s also expected to be licensed for weight loss soon.

How to get prescribed weight loss medication

If you’re looking to get prescription weight loss medication you’ll need to follow a few basic steps:

  • First up, you need to speak with a doctor, as they’ll be able to make the decision on whether weight loss medication is suitable for you.
  • A clinician will talk to you about your current health and your medical history. They’ll also consider your current weight and your history with dieting and other weight loss medications or procedures you may have tried in the past. This will allow them to build a picture so that they offer you the best treatment options.
  • If you and the clinician agree that weight loss medication can be used to help you lose weight long-term and in a healthy manner, they’ll go ahead and help you choose your treatment.
  • Once you have some treatment options, you can weigh the pros and cons of each and look at their risks and possible side effects. It’s important to make an informed decision about any medication.
  • If you’ve had an in-person appointment with a doctor then you’ll need to pick up your prescription from a pharmacy or arrange for it to be delivered. If you’ve had an online consultation your treatment will be dispensed and delivered to your door the next day.
  • At Treated we’ll keep in contact with you to see how your treatment is going, and to make sure that the medication is right for you. If you come across any bumps in the road we’ll be on hand to offer support and even offer alternative weight loss medication options if needed.

What weight do you have to be to qualify for weight loss medication?

You don’t need to be a certain weight in order to qualify for weight loss medication. Instead, your BMI is used to calculate suitability. This can change from pill to pill, but most medications are licensed for people who have a BMI of 30 or above, but if you have a BMI of 28 or 29 and suffer from other health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you may still be considered for weight loss treatment.

You need to be a certain BMI to be prescribed weight loss medication because it isn’t suitable for people with a healthy weight and, like with every medication, there are side effects and risks associated with its usage. It isn’t sensible to take these risks (even though they’re small) if you don’t really need the treatment. For example, weight loss pills that hinder the absorption of certain substances in your diet can leave you lacking some essential nutrients.

Which weight loss pills are available over-the-counter?

Man in red top with earphones in breathing heavily after exercise

Currently, there are no licensed weight loss pills available over the counter in Australia. If you come across any tablets that claim to be, you can’t be sure that they’ll be safe to use or that they’ll work, so we advise that you avoid them.

Can anyone get OTC weight loss medication?

Alli is an over-the-counter medication available in the UK. You still need the supervision of a pharmacist to buy it, you can’t simply get it off the shelf. If you go to a pharmacy and request it, the pharmacist will talk to you about the medication before letting you buy it. There is still a basic criteria that must be met before you can take Alli:

  • You must be over the age of 18
  • Have a BMI of 28 or above
  • Agree to start a lower calorie, lower fat diet

In Australia, all weight loss treatment will need to be prescribed to you by a licensed clinician.

Which weight loss pills are available through Medicare?

You won’t be able to get treatment through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme if you’re simply trying to lose weight. Weight loss pills aren’t subsidised through Medicare in Australia. However, if you meet certain criteria, such as being obese, a doctor can prescribe you weight loss medication. You’ll be eligible if you:

  • have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 35 with no known comorbidities
  • have a BMI greater than or equal to 30 with 1 or more of the following comorbidities: diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, psychiatric conditions or hypertension
  • are receiving professional dietetic and weight management advice

Can you get Saxenda through Medicare?

Saxenda is an injectable weight loss medication. You’ll need to have it prescribed before you can use it. Talk to one of our clinicians about all the weight loss options available to you.

Are weight loss pills available at supermarkets?

In the UK, yes. But you can’t go to the supermarket and just pop it in your basket off the shelves. If the supermarket has an in-house pharmacy, you might be able to get weight loss pills there. The pharmacist will want to make sure that the people buying them meet the criteria for treatment.

In Australia however, the PGA have blocked pharmacies from operating in supermarkets. They feel that the relationship and trust pharmacists build with people would be lost if pharmacies operate on a broader scale. Research suggests that quality advice from a fully trained pharmacist matters most to consumers, and whether pharmacies will ever appear in supermarkets in Australia remains to be seen.

If you do find weight loss pills on the shelves, it’s likely that any claims to help you lose weight are not substantial. It’s unlikely that those products have any clinical evidence to support their claims, so use them at your own risk. It’s always better to just speak to a clinician or pharmacist and get a legitimate product under medical supervision, otherwise you risk losing your money, or even getting unnecessary or unpleasant side effects.

Can I get weight loss pills online?

You can get weight loss pills online safely through our service here at Treated. Depending on which product you choose and what we prescribe to you, you may need monitoring to make sure that your body is reacting well to the medication and it’s working as expected. To make sure that happens, we’ll check in with you throughout the treatment.

If you want to find out more, contact us and one of our clinicians will suggest which medications might be suitable for you.

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