Are Appetite Suppressants Dangerous to My Health?

Are Appetite Suppressants Dangerous to My Health?

As a board-certified internist and endocrinologist who offers individually tailored, medically supervised weight loss plans at Cosmetico MedSpa, Dr. Nidal Hasan knows exactly what it takes to help you achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss. He provides the information, tools, and support you need to


If Dr. Hasan determines you’d be more successful with the aid of a weight loss medication, he may prescribe an appetite suppressant to help you jumpstart the process. Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of prescription appetite suppressants, including who can safely benefit from their short-term use — and who should avoid them. 

A short tutorial on appetite suppressants

Appetite suppressants, also known as “diet pills,” are a type of weight loss medication that affects your brain’s urge to eat. This go-to weight management aid works by effectively reducing or curbing hunger pangs, or by making you feel fuller faster with less food. As a result, you eat less, consume fewer calories, and lose weight. 

Dr. Hasan may prescribe an appetite suppressant if you have a high body mass index (BMI) and chronic, weight-related health problems. Specifically, he may recommend an initial period of short-term appetite suppressant use if you: 

Weight-related conditions that can prompt Dr. Hasan to recommend appetite suppressants include insulin resistance (prediabetes), Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, and chronic joint pain.

Do appetite suppressants carry health risks?

People who take prescription appetite suppressants to enhance their weight loss efforts — with healthier eating and daily exercise — lose up to 9% of their starting weight within 12 months, on average. Research shows that, when combined with lifestyle interventions, taking appetite suppressants results in a greater average weight loss than diet and exercise alone.  

While these FDA-approved medications are safe and effective when taken as prescribed, like any drug, they can be problematic when they aren’t used as directed. Appetite suppressants are more likely to carry health risks in the following situations:

 Taking appetite suppressants under Dr. Hasan’s guidance is the safest way to use this weight loss aid: He ensures there are no contraindications before he prescribes them, chooses the best medication for your needs, controls the length of time you take them (no longer than 12 weeks, but often just 3-6 weeks), and monitors you for side effects, making any adjustments as needed.  

Can appetite suppressants cause side effects?

Like any medication, appetite can cause side effects. The most common unwanted health effects associated with appetite suppressant use include:

 These side effects may be mild and temporary or more persistent and severe. If you experience bothersome side effects, Dr. Hasan may be able to switch your weight loss medication to one that better meets your needs.

If you experience rare but serious side effects like a higher heart rate or blood pressure, or signs of liver damage like jaundice (yellowed skin or eyes), Dr. Hasan will take you off the medication.  

Who shouldn’t take appetite suppressants? 

Appetite suppressants are contraindicated — meaning, not recommended — for people with specific health conditions because the medication can make those conditions worse. Appetite suppressants can also interact with certain medications. 

 You shouldn’t take appetite suppressants if you have heart disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, glaucoma, an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), liver disease, or a history of any type of eating disorder. 

You also shouldn’t take this weight loss aid if you’re on antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds. Besides causing drug interactions, some appetite suppressants may also increase the risk of suicidal ideation in people who are affected by depression or anxiety. 

The bottom line on appetite suppressants 

When appropriately prescribed following a physical exam and health history review — and taken under the care and guidance of an experienced physician like Dr. Hasan — prescription appetite suppressants carry few risks and can be highly beneficial to your weight loss efforts.    

Call today to learn more about the medically supervised weight loss services at Cosmetico MedSpa office in Munster, Indiana, or Orland Park, Illinois, or use our online booking feature to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hasan any time.

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