What are Diet Pills?

Pronounced as /ˈdaɪət pɪls/

Diet pills or weight loss pills are drugs that are designed to help a person lose weight. Their primary function is to lower appetite and stimulate physical activity. These drugs are encouraged only to those who are suffering from extreme obesity. These substances which can either be prescribed or bought over-the-counter can either be synthetically made or natural like herbal supplements.

Most of the prescription weight loss pills are classified by the DEA as Schedule III or IV controlled substances.

Below are the general classifications of weight loss pills:

  • Anorexiants: These types are also known as anorectics, anorexics, or anorexigenics. These types target the brain by inhibiting one’s appetite while stimulating physical activity.
  • Stimulants: These are central nervous system enhancing drugs that can be a prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) or illicit type. Its main effect is to suppress food intake while increasing physical and mental activity.
  • Lipase inhibitors: These are enzymes that inhibit fat absorption.
  • Laxatives: These are not typically advertised as weight loss drugs but are commonly abused by consumers. They give relief from constipation by inducing bowel movement.
  • Natural dietary supplements: These are the numerous naturally-produced health supplements sold in the market. It can come in tea, pills, tablets, or powdered juices.

What do Diet Pills look like?

Most prescription and OTC weight loss medicines are sold in capsule or tablet form in the market. Typically, it has a pill imprint of the brand name and the strength or drug content. It also comes in different colors depending on the brand name of the weight loss medicine.

What are the other names of Diet Pills?

This weight loss drug is known by several brand names whether prescribed or OTC types. Below are some of the common prescription and over-the-counter drugs for weight loss.

Prescription Weight Loss Medicines (FDA-Approved):

  • Orlistat: Brand Names – Alli, Xenical
  • Lorcaserin: Brand Name - Belviq
  • Phentermine and Topiramate: Brand Name –Qsymia
  • Naltrexone-bupropion: Brand Name – Contrave
  • Liraglutide: Brand Name – Saxenda
  • Phentermine
  • Benzphetamine
  • Diethylpropion
  • Phendimetrazine

Herbs and Supplements:

  • Garcinia cambogia
  • Glucomannan
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • Raspberry ketones
  • Forskolin
  • Chromium
  • Green tea
  • Bee pollen

What are the street names?

The drug is known in the streets by different names, depending on the area or what it is mixed with.

Here are some

Street names:

  • laxatives
  • “fen-phen”
  • “phen-fen”
  • “fen-dex”

What are Diet Pills used for?

These kinds of drugs are used to help treat people diagnosed as obese or having a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30. The primary function of these substances is to assist obese patients in losing some pounds of their body weight.

How do Diet Pills work?

The mechanism on how a certain weight loss substance works primarily depends on its type. For instance, Anorexiant types of weight loss drugs work by targeting the brain and suppressing it from feeling hungry or craving for food. Stimulant types work almost the same way as the first one but it has an added factor of enhancing physical alertness, mental activity, and metabolism. Meanwhile, lipase inhibitor types work by inhibiting lipase in the pancreas from metabolizing and absorbing fats from the food we eat. Laxatives work by treating constipation and inducing bowel movement.

How strong are Diet Pills?

Prescribed weight loss medications have the capacity to cut down 3 to 10 percent of a patient’s body weight at the start of the session. However, illicit weight loss drugs such as methamphetamines and cocaine have a greater effect on suppressing appetite but pose higher detrimental effects than prescribed weight loss medicines.

How long do Diet Pills stay in your system, blood, urine, saliva, hair?

The general active component found in most weight loss medicines is phentermine. This chemical substance is naturally derived from a monoamine alkaloid. It is a sympathomimetic stimulant with a primary function of suppressing appetite. This substance has comparable effects with amphetamines.

If you are to undergo a drug test, you may be wondering how long this drug stays in your system.


  • Blood test: 24 hours
  • Urine test: 1-4 days
  • Saliva test: ---
  • Hair test: 1 month

How does one get addicted to Diet Pills?

These types of medications have been classified by the DEA as Schedule III and IV controlled substances. The general components for most weight loss medicines have moderate to low addictive potential. However, these medications contain ingredients of a similar class with amphetamines, abuse, and higher dosage administration can pose a higher chance of getting dependent.

How do Diet Pills affect the brain and the body?

The active components of every weight loss medication target the brain and dampen its response to calorie intake. Further, each substance has its own specific action on how to cut off weight. Some of the actions of weight loss drugs include the following:

  • Suppress appetite
  • Inhibit lipase from digesting and absorbing fat from food taken
  • Induce bowel movement and treat constipation
  • Increase metabolism and physical activity

What are the short and long-term effects of Diet Pills?

Aside from the general effect of suppressing appetite, there are other short-term and long-term effects associated with the use of these drugs.

Short-term effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • headache

Long-term effects:

  • higher blood pressure
  • Irregular sleeping pattern
  • Anxiety
  • Uncontrolled body shaking
  • Dysfunctional taste buds

Why are Diet Pills dangerous?

Weight loss medications pose moderate to low addictive potential. However, the severity of side-effects is dependent on the type of drug, dosage and frequency of usage. These kinds of drugs are intended for short-term usage (approximately 12 weeks). It is best to consult your doctor or any medical personnel to seek proper prescription, dosage, and frequency of administration.

What causes Diet Pill overdose?

There’s no general solution in telling how many pills one must intake daily. This is because there are several factors to be considered when prescribing a person for a specific weight loss medication. These factors include weight, history of allergies, age, other vitamins or meds you’re taking along with it, and more.

Here are some possible reasons for overdose:

  • Excessive intake than what is prescribed the medical personnel
  • Administering weight loss drugs not suitable for normal weight or underweight
  • Self-medication
  • Taking in combinations of various weight loss medications
  • Taking in prescribed weight loss medications with illicit substances

What are the signs of overdose?

Here are the following common signs and symptoms for a person experiencing overdosage with weight loss medicines.

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dry mouth and dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty to urinate
  • Uncontrolled mood change

How do you treat diet pill overdose?

In order to help those people who have experienced overdose with this drug, the following treatments or procedures can be done:

  • If the patient shows signs of aggressiveness, refrain and protect him from self-injury and external situations that might exacerbate his stimuli.
  • If needed, the patient’s current content inside his stomach must be flushed out.
  • Other options for detoxifying the inside of the patient’s stomach is through the ingestion of activated charcoal or cathartic.
  • The patient can also undergo peritoneal dialysis or the removal of waste from the blood.
  • Call immediate medical help support

What are the withdrawal symptoms from Diet Pills?

Withdrawal symptoms may occur after a few hours after the drug is last taken. Decreasing gradual low dosage process must be done rather than abrupt cessation from the substance. These symptoms may last for a week but some may continue to experience symptoms after a few months.

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Easily irritated
  • Unstable mood

How can you treat Diet Pill addiction?

Abuse of any kind of prescription or illicit drugs is treatable. Treatment must be done step-by-step for complete recovery. You can consider the following steps for your treatment process:

  • Consult your medical personnel or clinician for a comprehensive guideline in order to recover from drug dependence.
  • Reward System: A contingency management plan where sets of rewards will be given to the patients who avoid using this drug.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A treatment process seeking to determine the variables causing drug abuse, risk reduction methods, and enhancing coping mechanism.
  • Recovery Group: A community-based plan which allows the patient to meet other victims and have a sharing about their experiences and success.