Teen Weight-Loss Pills: Efficacy, Precautions, & Side Effects

Weight-loss pills can seem like an attractive idea to those that are struggling with weight loss or body image.

And due to social media, the pressure to look good is almost inescapable.


You need only to open any social media app, and you’ll see several stars and social media presences pushing these types of pills.

And this can really appeal to young and impressionable teenagers that desire to obtain a picture-perfect airbrushed body. 

But the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes younger adults using these types of pills unless they have been prescribed by a doctor.

So you really should not be letting any adolescents purchase weigh-loss pills that are sold over the counter. 

While these types of pills can help those who are overweight to lose some weight, a healthy diet and exercise are much more important.

And without these, the pills won’t actually help you to lose weight. 

Do Weight-Loss Pills Work On Teens?

There are cases where weight-loss pills can be beneficial. But this is usually only when diet changes and physical activity alone do not seem to be shifting extra weight.

And as mentioned above, without these factors the pills will not work alone. 

That being said, there are cases where a doctor may prescribe these pills to some teenagers. And these are stated below: 

  • You are overweight and are struggling with additional medical issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure. 
  • You have a genetic condition that causes obesity

Your doctor may prescribe additional medications if it is deemed necessary.

However, non-prescription and over-the-counter weight loss pills and appetite suppressants will not have the desired effect and are often proven to have no benefits while also being potentially harmful.

A young teenager hoping to use these pills may also be an indication that there are more pressing issues at hand too, such as body dysmorphia or an eating disorder. 

What Are The Side Effects Of Teens Taking Weight-Loss Pills?


There are two main kinds of prescribable weight loss pills and each has there own set of side effects. We will take a closer look at these now. 


  • Gas
  • Leakage of oily stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea


  • Dry mouth
  • Taste changes
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Sleeping issues

Then there are the over-the-counter weight loss pills and these have their own sets of side effects too. 

Over-The-Counter Weight-Loss Pills

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heart issues
  • Palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Liver failure
  • Strokes 

What Precautions Should Teens Take?

When it comes to taking weight loss pills the following bullet points must always be taken into account not only before they begin taking them, but during too. 

  • Under Doctors Advice Only – Your teen should never be taking over-the-counter weight loss pills and should only ever be taking these pills if they have been prescribed. 
  • Speak To Your Doctor About Current Medication – You’re doctor must be aware of any medications that you are already taking before you are prescribed weight-loss pills as some compounds in medication can affect the pills. 
  • Check It IS FDA-Approved – Taking weight loss pills that are not FDA-approved is a very serious issue. This can cause serious illnesses and side effects.
  • Never Skip Doses – You should not skip any doses. If you do you should contact your doctor. 
  • Never Take More Than The Recommended Dose – You should not exceed the dosage stated on the packet. I would always recommend keeping the medicine out of reach of my adolescent and give them only their daily dose. 

How Are Teens Screened For Obesity?

If you are concerned about your adolescents weight, they will need to be referred to a doctor where they will be screened for obesity.

This is done through measuring their BMI which stands for body mass index. 

BMI is calculated by dividing the individuals body weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.

The BMI of children and teens is calculated slightly differently than it is for older adults. 

Factors such as your childs weight, height, and gender will all be taken into account and then this information will be used to create a BMI chart which will produce percentiles which are calculated with the help of CDC growth charts. 

From this it will be determined whether or not your child falls into the obese category.

It’s important to remember that for most younger children and teens a good diet and the right amount of exercise should be enough to achieve a healthier weight. 

In most cases, weight loss pills will not be prescribed. They are really only a resort if there are other underlying issues causing the weight gain.

If you find that the pills are not helping, or your child starts to react badly to them, consult with your doctor immediately. 

Final Thoughts

For those that need them, there can be some benefits to prescribed weight-loss pills.

However, that being said, there are only a few rare cases where a doctor will actually prescribe them. 

If your teen is pushing for over-the-counter weight loss pills, it would definitely be worth sitting down and having a conversation with them about exactly why they want to use these pills.

There may be issues with self-esteem or self-image that need tackling in this case. 

It is important to encourage your teenagers to pursue healthier means of losing weight should they need to.

And you should be warning them of some of the very adverse side effects to taking these kinds of pills. 

And under no circumstances should you or your child purchase any type of pills that are not FDA approved.

These can be very damaging to any body, let alone a growing and maturing one. 

Over all, there should really be an emphasis on health rather than weight as this can be the beginning or trigger of many eating disorders.

Try to steer your child away from the expectations to look perfect, but rather to ensure that they are happy and healthy.

Jenna Priestly