Weight Loss

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Safe?

Key Takeaways
  • Weight loss medications are generally safe, but there is no ‘safest’ weight loss medication to use, since they all largely pose the same risks.
  • Like most medications, there are some side effects that may occur with weight loss meds, such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, heartburn or acid reflux, and/or headaches.
  • Weight loss medications do work, but they don’t necessarily work the same for everyone, due to things like biological and genetic factors. The only way to know how they’ll work for you is to try them for yourself.
  • There are a lot of non-medication based weight loss treatments that can also be beneficial to your weight management plan and overall health, such as maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and seeking psychological or behavioural interventions when needed.
  • There are a variety of eligibility factors your healthcare practitioner will assess to determine whether weight loss medications are right for you. At minimum, you must have a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher, or have a BMI between 27-30 kg/m2 and be experiencing other weight-related medical conditions.

So, you’ve started your journey towards weight loss and better weight management. Congratulations! It’s the first, and most important step towards taking back control of your health.

But do weight loss medications actually work? Are weight loss medications safe to use? What are some non-medication treatments that you can try?

To help put your concerns to rest, the Felix Team has gathered some useful information about weight loss medications and their safety for use. Once you read this page, you should be ready to complete your assessment and take the next crucial steps in your weight management journey.

Are Weight Loss Medications Safe?

Generally, yes. Drugs that have been authorized for sale by Health Canada with an indication of weight management have met the clinical requirements necessary to be prescribed in Canada.

There is no ‘safest’ weight loss medication to use. They all pose some risks to patients using them. These risks may vary based on other conditions patients have.

It’s important to note that there are some common side effects that you may experience when you start taking weight loss medications, but in many cases, these side effects will likely lessen or disappear as your body gets used to the medication.

There are no weight loss medications without possible side effects; although practitioners may suggest lower dosages for people who are more prone to experiencing negative side effects. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn/Acid reflux
  • Headache

It’s also important to note that some medications can cause low blood sugar in patients with diabetes type 2; especially if they are taking certain other diabetic medications at the same time.

If any side effects start to become severe, talk to your healthcare practitioner at Felix. They may suggest an alternative medication or dosage that could work better for you.

Do Weight Loss Medications Actually Work?

When prescribed and used appropriately, weight loss medications can help patients with weight management. However, each weight loss medication will work a little differently for each person, because each individual’s biology and genetics are unique.

At the same time, different weight loss medications may target different biological aspects that could be contributing to weight gain.

This means they might be a good option for people who are genetically or biologically predisposed to weight gain, but there’s no way to know how well they’ll work for you until you try them.

Don’t forget that you need to pair weight loss medications with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Weight loss medications aren’t a miracle cure for weight gain. They require a healthy lifestyle to function most effectively.

Non-Medication Weight Loss Treatments

While it may seem easy to request weight loss medications, maintaining a healthy lifestyle in addition to these types of treatment is essential for maintaining your overall health.


No matter what your body size is, everyone can benefit from having a regular exercise regimen that they follow. It’s recommended to perform 30-60 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise, most days of the week.

This level of exercise will help promote weight loss, as well as other beneficial things like improving muscle strength and flexibility, and maintaining bone strength as we age.

Dietary Changes

We live in a heavily obesogenic environment in North America, so it’s no surprise that many people struggle to eat a consistently healthy diet.

This involves ensuring that you’re eating well-balanced meals that include all the necessary protein and fiber your body needs to function, while also reducing or eliminating excess sugars, alcohol consumption, as well as fatty or heavily processed foods.

Behavioural or Psychological Assistance

You don’t have to go through your weight management journey alone. There are a lot of different types of practitioners that can offer unique guidance to help you meet your goals.

Psychological or behavioural interventions can be beneficial when you’re struggling with mental health elements that are impacting your weight management plan.

In addition to addressing mental health hurdles, these types of practitioner can assist with teaching you tools like planning ahead for meals to avoid unhealthy choices, and finding ways to manage food cravings.

Who Can Take Weight Loss Medications?

Anyone who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2 could be eligible for prescription weight loss medications.

In addition to this, people with a BMI greater than 27 kg/m2, and who are also experiencing some kind of weight-related medical condition, could also be eligible for prescription weight loss medications.

If you think that you could benefit from building prescription weight loss medications into your weight management plan, it’s time to talk to a healthcare practitioner at Felix.

They’ll be able to give you the guidance that you need to find the right medication to meet your needs, while creating an overall health plan for long-term weight management.

Together, we can help you take back control of your weight and your health, so you can start living your life the way you want to.

Medically reviewed by


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