EveAdam & Treated.com have joined to make Treated. Different look, improved site, same great service.  Take the tour
Fact Checked Fact Checked
How can I get weight loss pills?

How can I get weight loss pills?

You can get weight loss pills both over-the-counter and on 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 and OTC options - which will help you to achieve your weight loss goal in the safest and most effective way?

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. Both prescription weight loss medication and the over-the-counter weight loss medication have certain criteria that are used to assess someone’s suitability for the 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 might not work as expected and in some cases may not even be safe. Speaking to an expert, like a doctor or pharmacist, is the best way to get the best 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.

Daniel Atkinson
Medically reviewed by
Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead
Adam Gilmour - Last updated August 02, 2022
Go to
Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022.
Meet Daniel
Daniel
Was this article useful?

Which weight loss pills are prescription only?

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.

Orlistat is a generic version of Xenical, so it works in the same way but can usually be picked up for a lower price.

Alli is a branded orlistat treatment. It uses the same active ingredient and works similarly, but it comes in 60mg pills, whilst Xenical and Orlistat both come in 120mg doses. Since Alli has a lower dose of the active ingredient, you can get it over the counter from most pharmacies.

Mysimba 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 or pharmacist, 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?

Weight loss

 

Alli, a branded treatment of Orlistat, is an over-the-counter weight loss medication that comes in a lower dose than Xenical and Orlistat. Other than Alli, there are no other weight loss pills available over the counter that have been licensed for medical use. As a result, if you come across others then you can’t be sure that they’ll be safe for you to use or that they’ll work.

Can anyone get OTC weight loss medication?

Although Alli is an over-the-counter medication, 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

Which weight loss pills are available on the NHS?

You can get Orlistat on the NHS, but you need to speak to your doctor first. They need to make sure that certain criteria are met before they prescribe any weight loss medication. The process is simple:

You need to be fully assessed by a healthcare professional who will decide if Orlistat is right for you or not.

You need to start a low-fat diet and exercise program before starting treatment with Orlistat, and you’re expected to continue this program while you take the pills, and after you stop taking them.

It will only be prescribed if you’ve already made a significant effort to lose weight in the past and nothing has worked.

You’ll need to have a BMI of 30 or above, or 28 to 29 if you have health conditions associated with obesity, like diabetes and high blood pressure. Sometimes pre-diabetes is also considered.

Can you get Saxenda on the NHS?

Saxenda is an injectable weight loss medication, and yes, you can get it on the NHS. But, you need to meet certain criteria:

  • Your BMI must be at least 35, which is higher than the BMI necessary to get weight loss pills. So if your BMI is 30-35, you can use Saxenda but it won’t be available to you on the NHS.
  • You suffer from comorbidities such as pre-diabetes, diabetes or hypertension.
  • You must follow an exercise plan as well as a reduced-calorie diet for the duration of the treatment, and ideally after the treatment is over.

Are weight loss pills available at supermarkets?

Technically 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. Even though Alli has a reduced dose of the active ingredient orlistat and is available over-the-counter, it shouldn’t be taken by someone who isn’t overweight.

If you 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.

Reference Popover #ref3
Reference Popover #ref2
Reference Popover #ref1
This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

How we source info.

When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.

Tell us what you want to hear.

Have a subject you’d like us to cover in a future article? Let us know.

Give us the inbox treatment.

We're making healthcare more about you. Sign up to our newsletter for personalised health articles that make a difference.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.

Suggest a health guide

Tell us your idea here.

(And leave your email too, so we can let you know if we write an article based on your suggestion.)

Ask or suggest something.

Submit your question here, or tell us if you’ve found an issue on our site.

We may email you about your query, but you can opt out of these communications any time you like.

Tell us about a problem

I accept the terms of use.
We may email you about the problem, but you can opt out of these communications any time you like.

What did you like about it?

What didn't you like about it?

We’ll get back to you very soon. We aim to respond to all queries in one working day.

You’re signed up to our newsletter. Keep an eye on your inbox for our latest update.

news-letter

Sign up to our newsletter for all the latest on Weight Loss and more.

By clicking 'Subscribe now' you're agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

Is this your first time with us?

You can continue as a guest, or sign in with your Treated account if you have one.