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JAMA Patient Page
August 18, 2015

Specific Medications for Weight Loss

JAMA. 2015;314(7):742. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5836

Several medications are available to help achieve weight loss.

Orlistat is a medication that reduces the absorption of fats from food that is ingested. It should be taken with each meal. Orlistat is the only medication for weight loss available over the counter (in a lower dose than the prescription medication), but you should ask your doctor before taking it. Major side effects of orlistat include gassiness, cramps, and oily stools.

Lorcaserin is a medication that acts on serotonin receptors in the brain to decrease appetite. Headaches and upper respiratory tract infections are possible side effects of lorcaserin. You should not take lorcaserin if you also take other medications that affect serotonin, which include some antidepressants and treatments for migraine headaches.