Weight Loss Medication


  • Prescription weight-loss medicines may help some people who haven't been able to achieve their weight loss goals with diet and exercise alone. Providers generally prescribe these medicines for patients who have obesity (BMI >=30) or overweight (BMI >=27) with other health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Weight loss medications must be prescribed by a licensed provider. The cost of weight loss medications is usually not covered by Kaiser Permanente insurance plans.

If you are interested in learning more about weight loss medications and whether you are a good candidate for one, please call Kaiser Permanente Nutrition and Adult Health and Wellness services at 303-614-1070 (TTY 711).
How well do weight-loss medicines work?

  • For some patients they can be a very helpful tool
  • Patients have an average of 5-10% weight loss with the addition of anti-obesity medications
  • Sometimes patients respond to one medication and not to another, so if one medication does not help after a period of time, a different one could be considered. Careful monitoring while on treatment is always needed.
  • Given the side effects and costs of the available anti-obesity medications, a conversation with a provider is best to learn if one of these tools would be helpful in your weight loss journey.

What are some examples of prescription weight-loss medications?
  • Phentermine
  • Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate)
  • Contrave (bupropion/naltrexone)
  • Orlistat (Xenical)

What are the side effects of weight-loss medications?
  • Side effects depend on the medication taken
  • Many of the medications cannot be taken when pregnant
  • Some medications can lead to high blood pressure or other heart problems
  • Some medications can affect the risk of having a seizure in patients who have conditions that make them prone to seizures
  • Some medications can cause stomach side effects like frequent stools or constipation or nausea
  • Additional side effect information can be reviewed with a provider