How to ask your doctor for weight loss pills

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Older, somewhat heavy man talking to doctor on laptop. He's wondering how to ask your doctor for weight loss pills.

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Are you concerned about your weight and interested in managing it with medication? Not sure how to ask your doctor for weight loss pills? You’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place! Speaking to your provider about your options shouldn’t be intimidating.

This article prepares you to ask your doctor if a medication-managed approach to weight loss is right for you.

Ease into the conversation about weight loss with these tips

Talking to your doctor about your weight can be awkward, never mind asking for pills. Here are some tips to help you ease into the conversation: 

  • Make a list of your concerns and goals, as well as what tools and approaches you’ve already tried and their outcomes. Bring this list with you to your appointment. Having notes written while you’re clear-headed is helpful when having a conversation under the time constraints of a doctor’s appointment. 
  • Begin the conversation by asking what a healthy weight range is for someone of your age, height, and medical history. This is an easy way of letting your doctor know that you may have concerns and would like to know more about what’s considered healthy for you. Be sure to ask your doctor about your body mass index (BMI), which is a common indicator of whether or not someone is overweight. Additionally, many medications require a specific BMI to be prescribed.
  • Share your goals with your doctor. Help them understand why you’re concerned and where you want to be. They’ll take all of that into consideration when creating a plan to help you manage your weight. 
  • Tell your doctor what approaches you’ve already tried and what the outcomes were. Ask if any health conditions or current medications could be interfering with your weight loss efforts or causing you to gain weight. 
  • Ask your doctor what resources are available to you. It’s possible that there’s something you haven’t tried, including prescription pills or weight loss injections. At this point in the conversation, it’s entirely appropriate to ask your doctor about medications and if they’re right for you.

When should I ask for pills?

There’s no one right answer for everything, and every person’s health is different. You should ask your doctor for pills or injections when you feel you want and need help losing weight or that your weight may be endangering your health.

Still not sure? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you experienced unexpected weight gain or an inability to lose weight despite diet and exercise? 
  • Are you concerned that your weight is affecting your physical health and/or mental well-being?
  • Are you worried that a health condition or a medication you’re currently taking is affecting your weight?
  • Do you feel you could use some guidance on how to lose weight or that you would benefit from a medical weight loss program?

If you find yourself answering “yes” to any of these questions, have a conversation with your healthcare provider about medically supervised weight loss. Together, you can find a plan and/or medication that’s right for you. Need a weight-loss specialist? Find one on Klarity.

Discover a tailored approach to weight loss that fits your unique needs.

Why your doctor may not agree to pills

Your doctor may or may not agree to prescribe medication for you, depending on what’s right for you, your body, and your health. 

Here are a few reasons why your doctor may not suggest prescription medication.

They prefer to start with a conservative approach

They may want you to try a more conservative approach, beginning with a diet and exercise plan designed for your age and current health status. 

If this is the case, make sure you’ve talked to your provider about any diet and/or exercise regimens you’ve tried and whether you were satisfied with the outcome. This can help them come up with a plan tailored to your needs. It also empowers you to be involved in the decision.

Your current BMI or weight may not warrant management with medication

Most prescription weight loss medications are FDA-approved primarily for people with BMIs of 30 or higher or a BMI of 27 or higher and a weight-related health condition. You may not fall in this category. 

Your provider might also be concerned about whether weight loss pills are safe for you to take with other medications you’re on or health conditions you have (this includes being pregnant or breastfeeding). Be sure to ask your doctor about what options are safe for you.

The potential side effects outweigh the benefits

This is entirely dependent on your current health and medical history. For example, it’s advised that those with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or endocrine neoplasia symptom type 2 avoid taking tirzepatide (Zepbound and Mounjaro) and semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy). Additionally, you may have a current health condition that’s contradicted by some medications and their side effects.

Trust your doctor. You know your body and needs, they know the science and what’s best for your health. Together, you can figure out the best weight-loss plan for you.

Questions to ask your doctor about weight-loss medication

If you and your healthcare provider do decide that medication is right for you, here are a few questions to ask your provider to ensure you get the best results.

  • How often do I take the medication? (for example, once a day, twice a day, one a week, etc.)
  • How do I take the medication? (for example, by mouth, injection, etc.)
  • In addition to the medication, what else should I be doing?
  • What’s the overall plan for managing my weight, and what are realistic goals?
  • What should I expect when I take this medication, and are there any side effects to watch for? 
  • How long will it take to see results?
  • When should I schedule a follow-up appointment?

Weight loss medications your doctor might suggest

Some of the best prescription weight loss pills that your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Wegovy is a once-weekly semaglutide injection approved to promote and maintain weight loss. As a GLP-1 agonist, Wegovy mimics the natural hormone GLP-1 that regulates appetite and food intake. Wegovy is similar to Ozempic, a medication for type 2 diabetics. See how Wegovy compares to Ozempic.
  • Zepbound is a brand name for tirzepatide, which is approved for weight management. It works by mimicking two hormones that control appetite, GLP-1 and GIP. Zepbound is injected weekly.
  • Saxenda for weight loss is a brand name of liraglutide approved for weight loss. Like Wegovy, Saxenda is a GLP-1 agonist, meaning it mimics GLP-1 to regulate appetite. It’s injected daily.
  • Contrave is a blend of naltrexone and bupropion. It’s thought that this blend of medications works on the brain to regulate appetite and control food cravings. It’s taken by mouth.
  • Xenical is an oral medication used to promote and maintain weight loss. It works by decreasing the amount of fat your body absorbs from food.
  • Qsymia is a blend of phentermine and topiramate that works in the brain to suppress appetite and make you feel more full. It’s taken by mouth.
  • Adipex-P (phentermine) is an oral stimulant medication that raises the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals play a role in the brain’s reward system, which is involved in regulating appetite.
  • Plenity is a medical device swallowed as a pill. It contains cellulose and citric acid and works directly in the digestive tract by absorbing water and mixing with food. This causes the device to expand in the stomach and small intestine, taking up space and making you feel full.

Some prescription weight loss medications require prior authorization before insurance will cover them and they can be costly. Websites, like GoodRx, can provide valuable coupons for medications that aren’t covered by insurance. They can even help you find the pharmacy with the lowest price in your area. Most of the manufacturers of the drugs listed above also offer savings programs.

Know that any medication has side effects and you should talk to your doctor and pharmacist to understand what to watch for.

If your doctor doesn’t agree to prescribe meds, here’s what to do

If your doctor doesn’t agree to prescribe diet pills, your doctor will explain why. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and make sure you understand your doctor’s recommendation. 

They should work with you on a tailored weight management or weight loss plan that doesn’t include medications if they feel you need one. Your doctor may even suggest over-the-counter pills (OTC) or supplements as an option as well. A lower-strength version of Xenical, called Alli, is available without a prescription. 

If your doctor doesn’t feel you need to lose weight, they may suggest you talk to a therapist about your weight concerns and what’s causing you to feel you need to lose weight when you don’t. They may refer you to a therapist. If not, you can find a mental health provider on Klarity.

Find a weight loss specialist on Klarity and start the conversation today!

Find a specialist on the Klarity platform and get support for a medically-managed approach to weight loss. Find a provider on Klarity and in a few days, talk to a doctor about losing weight.

The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a guarantee of service, legal, or medical advice. The content here is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider or lawyer with any questions you may have regarding a medical or legal issue. Klarity does not assume liability for any reliance on the information provided on our blog.

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Kasra Tayebi

Dr. Kasra Tayebi, a seasoned specialist in internal medicine, is passionate about his commitment to patient well-being and health education. With a wealth of experience, Dr. Tayebi plays a pivotal role at UIHealth, where he provides personalized and compassionate care to his patients. Holding an MD degree from the University of Queensland, he combines his academic excellence with practical expertise to empower individuals in understanding and managing their health effectively.

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