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Weight Loss

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How to get an online weight loss prescription

Written by Emily Van Devender

Published: Mar 15, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sheelu Bhatnagar

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Getting an online weight loss prescription is easy today. Telehealth platforms, like Klarity, make it simple to find a healthcare provider who specializes in weight loss. They can see you online and create a tailored weight loss plan, prescribe medications if needed, and even follow up online. 

In this article, we walk you through how to know if you need weight loss medication and how to get an online prescription. We also review medications your provider might suggest. 

Talk to a provider online about a weight loss prescription within 24 hours.

When you may need an online weight loss prescription

Getting an online weight loss prescription starts with having a conversation with a healthcare provider. You’ll work with your provider to decide if a medical weight loss program — with or without medication — is right for you.  Your program will include a reduced-calorie diet and exercise — most prescription weight-loss medications are used along with diet and exercise. And it may include over-the-counter medications if a prescription isn’t right for you.

Many prescription weight loss drugs are only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for people with specific body mass indexes (BMIs) or a specific BMI and one or more weight-related health conditions. BMI is a way to measure body fat by dividing your weight by the square of your height.

High BMIs indicate high body fat and the potential for weight-related health conditions, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

BMIs that qualify for most prescription weight loss medications are outlined in the following table.

BMIMedical weight statusEligible for FDA-approved weight loss medications
30.0 and higherObesityYes
25.0–29.9OverweightYes for those with BMIs of 27 and higher who have one or more weight-related health conditions
18.5–24.9Healthy weightNo
18.4 and lowerUnderweightNo

If your BMI is 20, a doctor isn’t likely to prescribe a weight loss medication for you. But if it’s higher than 30 or higher than 27 and you have a weight-related health problem, you’re a good candidate for weight loss injections and other medications. 

Not sure how to calculate your BMI? It’s easy, just divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared (your height in inches multiplied by itself) and multiply that number by 703. 

So if your weight is 225 pounds and you’re 6 feet tall: 

  • 225 ÷ 5,184 (6 feet in inches [72] squared [72 x 72]) = 0.0434
  • 0.0434 x 703 equals a BMI of 30.51

30.51 falls into the obesity category and you’re a good candidate for weight loss medication.

Ways to get a weight loss prescription

If your BMI is high enough, you’re a good candidate for weight loss medication. But, before you can get one, you need a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. 

Here are ways to find a provider and get a prescription online or off.

A telehealth appointment

Telehealth appointments are entirely virtual. They let you connect with your provider using your phone, computer, or tablet from the comfort of your home or the location of your choice. 

During your telehealth appointment, your provider completes an online health assessment, discusses your current medications, and asks what you’ve tried so far to lose weight. Based on your BMI and overall health, your provider works with you to tailor a treatment plan that aligns with your specific weight loss needs, goals, medical condition, and lifestyle. 

With a telehealth appointment, you usually pay online at the time of your appointment. And, as with an in-person visit, your provider can submit your prescription before the end of your appointment, so it’s ready for pick-up or delivery fast. 

Telehealth appointments are also protected and private. Just choose a private location when you have your appointment so you’re not overheard. 

You may still need to attend an in-person evaluation based on your health status. An in-person evaluation may include bloodwork and labs not possible in an online visit. Even if you need an in-person visit for an initial evaluation, you can use virtual visits for follow-ups and prescription refills if your provider agrees. 

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

An in-person evaluation

In an in-person appointment, you see your provider in their office. This is just like a telehealth appointment except you’re in the room with your provider. Your appointment may also include specific tests, such as physical exams, height and weight measurements to determine BMI, and/or blood tests or other lab work. Your provider may use labs and tests to determine if prescription medications are safe and right for you. 

How to fill your weight loss prescription online

If you and your provider decide a prescription weight loss medication is right for you, you can get your prescription filled online at an online pharmacy. Pharmacies like Amazon Pharmacy, Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, and others all let you fill your prescription online and have it shipped directly to your home.

Many local pharmacies also deliver and/or use DoorDash and similar services for pharmacy deliveries.

Your insurance provider may also let you fill your prescriptions online through them. 

Note, if you use a lesser-known online pharmacy, make sure it’s safe by visiting the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy safe pharmacy site and using the Buy Safely option. Also, visit the FDA’s How to Buy Medicines Safely From an Online Pharmacy page to learn more.

Ways to lose weight

Once you have your prescription in hand, understanding how evidence-supported weight loss strategies work can lead to a better weight loss outcome. Covered here are how we lose weight and some of the most effective approaches. Always discuss any method you use with your provider and make sure it’s part of the tailored plan your provider has created for you.

How the body loses weight

Your body naturally wants to hold onto fat. It stores energy in the form of triglycerides (a type of fat), and it needs that energy for every bodily process and function. Fat also helps regulate your body temperature. 

Your body’s determination to store fat though creates challenges when you try to lose weight. It actively resists weight loss by slowing down your metabolism in an attempt to maintain your starting weight. In other words, when you consume too few calories, your body holds onto fat to conserve energy. 

When you try to lose weight, your body slowly turns the extra fat into liquid or gaseous metabolic byproducts, like sweat, urine, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Through these byproducts, it expels some of the extra fat volume — in other words, loses weight.

Approaches for losing weight

The question then is how do we get our bodies to turn more fat into metabolic byproducts? The answer recommended by most experts includes a personalized combination of weight loss strategies, such as the following. 

Diet combined with exercise

FDA approval of prescription weight-loss medications specifies they be used with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise. If you get a prescription, your provider will help you create a diet and exercise plan as part of your weight loss program.

Regular exercise 

Regular exercise, including weight training, resistance training, aerobic exercises, and walking, can help you burn more calories than you eat. Exercise is especially beneficial for weight loss alongside recommended dietary modifications, behavioral therapy, and treatment of comorbid weight-related health conditions.

While exercise can help you burn more fat, it can also help you build more muscle. Because of this, your weight might not change much or may even increase. However, increasing muscle mass through weight training and resistance training can increase your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories at rest. 

Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, increases your respiratory rate too, which makes you exhale more CO2. More CO2 expulsion means more burned calories and increased weight loss. 

A reduced-calorie diet 

Eating fewer calories is one of the most common ways people try to lose weight. It helps put you into a calorie deficit, so you can burn more calories than you eat. Note though that eating too few calories alone isn’t the answer. Too few calories can be harmful and force your metabolism to slow down and your body to store more fat.

The best approach is a reduced-calorie diet that includes more healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, along with exercise and medication as part of the plan your provider gives you.  

A low-carbohydrate diet

Low carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, or a ketogenic diet, can be effective ways to lose weight quickly. Reduced carbohydrate intake can help accelerate weight loss. You can ask your provider if a low-carbohydrate diet instead of an overall reduced-calorie diet may be a better approach for you. Carbohydrates are found in foods like pasta, bread, and sugary treats.

Special diets and dietary substitutions

Other options that can help with weight loss include:

  • Following the Mediterranean diet that includes olive or canola oil, walnuts, pecans, and almonds. 
  • Substituting low-fat dairy products (skim milk, fat-free yogurt, low-fat cheese) for higher-fat ones.
  • Substituting fish or poultry for red meat.

Whatever dietary changes you try, it’s best to choose foods that contain enough protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and vitamins. Try to avoid or at least limit alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages (sodas and fruit drinks), and sweets (candy, cakes, cookies), since they lack important nutrients that your body needs.

Adequate sleep

It’s possible for inadequate sleep to cause weight gain, so your provider may also suggest sleeping at least 7 to 8 hours every night. Sleep deprivation (not getting enough sleep) increases energy use, which causes you to eat more and prevents your body from getting rid of toxic waste — both of which are associated with weight gain.  

Prescription weight loss medications 

Prescription weight loss medications may be used as part of a medically supervised weight loss approach. 

Over-the-counter weight loss medications and supplements 

Over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss medications are available to anyone, including people who aren’t eligible for a weight loss prescription. Along with recommended diet and behavior modifications, they may support weight loss by reducing your appetite or making you feel more full so you eat less. Not all over-the-counter diet pills are safe or effective though. Only Alli is FDA-approved for weight loss.

Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any new medications, especially if you also take prescription drugs.

About prescription weight loss medications

Prescription weight loss medications work in different ways. Some reduce your appetite and/or increase feelings of fullness. Others affect the way your body absorbs specific nutrients (for example, fat). Following are a few common types of weight loss medications.

GLP-1 receptor agonists: Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists act on receptors in your pancreas, nervous system, and elsewhere to reduce feelings of hunger, slow down food digestion, and reduce blood glucose. They mimic the natural GLP-1 hormone produced in your intestines. 

GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonist medications: Newer weight loss medications combine GLP-1 with glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) agonists. GIP acts on the hypothalamus to help you feel full. By stimulating both GLP-1 and GIP receptors, these medications may result in better glycemic control and weight loss compared to GLP-1 agonists. 

Medications that affect appetite: Opioid agonists, anti-epileptic drugs, anorectics, and antidepressants are a few examples of medication types that can suppress your appetite and support your eating less. They may be prescribed for weight loss, but are not exclusively used for this purpose.

Fat blockers: Some weight loss medications and supplements help you lose weight by reducing the amount of dietary fat absorbed in your intestines during the digestive process.

Who should try prescription weight loss pills

If you have a higher BMI and/or a weight-related health problem, losing weight can make you healthier and may even save your life or add years to your life. Being overweight has health risks including chronic medical conditions.  

If you’re in the high BMI group and your healthcare provider agrees that losing weight with a weight loss medication is right and safe for you, a prescription weight loss pill is worth a try.

Many FDA-approved weight loss prescription medications are effective and safe for weight loss. 

Types of prescription weight loss medications

The following table compares some of the best prescription weight loss medications available today. Before taking any medication talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacists or see the drug’s medication guide for details on side effects an potential warnings.

NameDrug typeHow it worksApproved for
Zepbound (tirzepatide)GLP-1 + GIP receptor agonistWeekly weight loss injection that mimics GLP-1 and GIP to improve feelings of fullness and insulin sensitivity while delaying gastric emptying and reducing food intake. Adults with a BMI of 30 or higher and adults with a BMI of 27 or higher and at least one weight-related health condition. Used with diet and exercise.
Wegovy (semaglutide)GLP-1 receptor agonistA weekly injection that mimics GLP-1 to reduce hunger, slow digestion, and lower blood glucose. Adults with a BMI of 30 or higher, or 27 or higher alongside at least one weight-related medical condition. It’s also approved for children ages 12 and older with a BMI in the 95th percentile or higher. Used with diet and exercise.
Saxenda (liraglutide)GLP-1 receptor agonistA daily injection that mimics GLP-1 to help you feel full for longer. It also lowers blood glucose. Adults with a BMI of 30 or higher or with a BMI of 27 or higher and at least one weight-related medical condition. Used with diet and exercise.
Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate)Combined anorectic + anti-epileptic A daily extended-release oral medication you should take in the morning to decrease appetite and extend feelings of fullness. Adults and children 12 years and older with a BMI of 30 or higher, or adults with a BMI of 27 or higher with at least one weight-related medical condition. Used with diet and exercise.
Contrave (naltrexone and bupropion)Combined opioid antagonist  + antidepressant An oral tablet taken twice daily to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness.Adults with a BMI of 30 or greater. Adults with a BMI of 27 or higher and at least one weight-related medical condition can also take it. Used with diet and exercise.
Adipex-P (phentermine)AnorecticAn oral medication you should take daily 1–2 hours before or after your first meal to reduce appetite and increase energy. Adults and children 17+ with a BMI of 30 or higher, or with a BMI of 27 or higher accompanied by a weight-related medical condition. Used with diet and exercise.
PlenityMedical device containing citric acid and cellulose. An oral capsule you must take with at least 16 ounces of water approximately 20 minutes before lunch and dinner. It absorbs the water and expands to increase feelings of fullness.  Adults ages 22 and older with a BMI of 25–40. Used with diet and exercise.
Xenical (orlistat)Fat blockerAn oral capsule you should take three times a day before meals to reduce the amount of dietary fat your intestines absorb. Adults and children 12 and older with a BMI of 30 or higher or 27 or higher alongside a weight-related medical condition. Used with diet and exercise.
Alli (orlistat)Fat blockerNonprescription oral orlistat is taken 3 times a day to reduce dietary fat absorption. Adults over 18 with a BMI of 25 or higher.  Used with diet and exercise.

Find an online weight loss doctor and start losing it today

On the Klarity platform, you can find and book an appointment with a healthcare provider who specializes in medical weight loss. Providers on Klarity offer online and/or in-person visits based on your needs and preferences. 

Find a provider on Klarity today to get started with a personalized weight loss plan in as little as 48 hours. 

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

How we reviewed this article: This article goes through rigorous fact-checking by a team of medical reviewers. Reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the author.

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