How to Ask Your Doctor For Weight Loss Pills

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD

Written by Vanessa Gibbs

Published 04/05/2024

Whether it’s with your spouse, your BFF or your doctor, weight loss can be a tricky topic of conversation. It can feel even trickier when you want to ask your doctor for weight loss pills. Don’t let the fact it can be an awkward convo stop you from seeking advice, though — we have some suggestions of how to get started. 

Doctors are professionals, after all, and they’re here to help. Having an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your weight loss worries and efforts will get you the best advice on weight loss pills. 

Below, we dive into how to ask your doctor for weight loss pills and what information you need to have ready before you speak to them. 

We can’t state it enough — the best way to ask your doctor for weight loss pills is through an open and honest conversation. Doctors are here to help, and when you give them as much info as you can about your health and weight, they can work with you to find the weight loss medications and treatments that will be best for you. 

There’s no wrong way to start this conversation. But one way is to begin a conversation about weight loss pills by sharing any worries you have about your weight or weight-related health issues. 

Here are some other suggestions for how to start talking to your doctor about weight loss medication: 

  • “I’m concerned about my weight. What is a healthy weight for my height?”  

  • “I’m motivated to lose weight, but I’m not sure how to go about it. What weight loss methods and treatments would you recommend to help?” 

  • “I’ve been working on weight loss this year but haven’t had much success. Am I a good candidate for medication?” 

Once you open the door, your doctor may ask for details about previous weight loss efforts, including what worked or didn’t work for you. They may also ask about your diet, exercise routine or pre-existing health conditions.   

No judgment here — it’s all important info that’ll help your doctor find the best treatment for you. 

With all of this info, they can recommend suitable weight loss treatments. If that includes weight loss pills, they’ll recommend ones that could work well for you. 

If you’re feeling nervous, don’t be afraid to have a friend or family member come with you to take notes or just for moral support. 

But remember, doctors have seen it all before, and there’s never any shame in asking for help with weight loss — or anything else, for that matter!

There are many medications you can ask your doctor about, including weight loss injections and pills and FDA-approved and off-label options. There are also several different surgical options

FDA-approved weight loss medications include

  • Wegovy® (semaglutide)

  • Saxenda® (liraglutide) 

  • Zepbound® (tirzepatide)

  • Contrave® (naltrexone-bupropion)

  • Xenical® (orlistat)

  • Qsymia® (phentermine-topiramate)

  • IMCIVREE® (setmelanotide)

There are also medications that are prescribed off-label for weight loss, such as diabetes drugs — like Ozempic® and metformin — and the epilepsy drug topiramate. That means they’re FDA-approved for other uses but not officially for weight loss. In some cases, they have the same active ingredient as medications approved for weight loss —for example, Wegovy and Ozempic both contain semaglutide.

Many of these weight loss medications work in different ways. Some work by suppressing your appetite and making it easier to reduce your calorie intake, while others reduce how much fat your body absorbs from food.

A doctor can talk you through the pros and cons of each medication and help you decide which one may be most suitable for you, depending on your situation.

There’s never a wrong time to talk to your doctor about weight loss pills. If your weight is worrying you, seeking expert advice can help put your mind at ease and get you started with an action plan, even if you don’t get a prescription for weight loss medication. 

Not sure if weight loss is something you even need to worry about? Again, speaking with a doctor is your best bet. To give you some facts to start with, though, people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 are considered to have overweight, while those with a BMI of 30 and over are considered to have obesity.

Weight loss medications are usually prescribed to people who have tried lifestyle changes — think diet and exercise — and continue to have a BMI of 30 or more or a BMI of 27 or more with an obesity-related comorbidity. That could include high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. 

BMI isn’t the whole story, though. You may benefit from speaking to your doctor about weight loss if your waist size is more than 35 inches (or 40 inches for guys, just FYI) or if you have health issues like high blood pressure or elevated blood glucose levels. 

A doctor can assess your BMI, waist size, health conditions and other factors like medical history or risk factors for cardiometabolic disease to determine whether you’d benefit from losing weight.

Even if you don’t fit this profile, it’s still worth getting medical advice on weight management. 

Having overweight or obesity is linked to an increased risk of everything from stroke to depression and coronary heart disease to type 2 diabetes, but losing weight isn’t always straightforward.

When it comes to how to talk to your doctor about weight loss in general, the same principles we’ve been talking about apply — open and honest communication is key. Mention that you’re concerned about your body weight and want to discuss your options. You’ve got this.

Prescribed online

Weight loss treatment that puts you first

You can prepare for your doctor’s visit by having some key information ready to share and having a list of questions ready to ask. 

Pen and paper at the ready? Here’s what we suggest preparing before your visit.  

Info to Have Ready to Share

Jot down some notes about your: 

  • Current diet 

  • Exercise habits 

  • Sleep schedule 

  • Medical history and any prescription medications or supplements you’re taking

  • Any weight loss methods you’ve tried and how successful they were  

  • Any challenges that have kept you from losing weight, such as joint pain or food cravings 

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Weight Loss Pills

Any doctor's visit should be a two-way conversation. To help you make an informed decision on the best weight loss treatment for you, consider asking these questions: 

  • What are the pros and cons of different weight loss pills? 

  • What are the common side effects of weight loss pills? 

  • How long should I take weight loss pills for? 

  • How should I take weight loss pills? 

  • What healthy diet and exercise changes should I make alongside taking weight loss pills?

  • What other weight loss treatments are available? 

You can also ask some questions about weight loss (not just medications), such as: 

  • What’s a realistic weight loss goal for me? 

  • Could a weight loss program help me?

  • What type of weight loss program would you recommend for me?  

  • What are the healthiest ways to avoid weight gain?

  • Could a health problem or medication be affecting my weight?  

  • Should I consider weight loss surgery? 

There’s no such thing as a silly question — a good motto for life in general, but also for doctor’s visits specifically. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on anything you’re unsure about, and consider taking a few notes to read over once you’re back home. 

Yes, your primary doctor can prescribe you weight loss pills if they’re suitable for you. You can also talk to a licensed professional online about weight loss medications and other treatments. 

If your doctor doesn’t prescribe you weight loss pills, don’t panic. There’s probably a solid reason for this — such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, a health condition or another medication you’re on that doesn’t mix well with weight loss meds. 

It’s also possible that your weight may not qualify you for weight loss drugs, or your doctor may want to try other weight loss methods, like lifestyle changes, before prescribing medication. There’s no set time frame, but a doctor may recommend following a diet and exercise plan for about 12 months before taking weight loss meds.

If you want, you can ask for more clarity on why they didn’t prescribe medication or speak to another doctor for a second opinion.

You should also remember that weight loss pills aren’t the only way to lose weight. Talk to your healthcare provider about other weight loss treatments that may be more suitable, such as lifestyle changes, weight loss programs or bariatric surgery. 

They can also refer you to other experts who can help you on your weight loss journey, such as:

  • Dietitians

  • Physical therapists

  • Behavioral therapists

  • Bariatric surgeons

We get it — asking your doctor for weight loss pills can feel uncomfortable. Our best advice? Don’t worry too much about how to get weight loss pills prescribed. Start with an honest conversation about your weight instead.

Here’s what to keep in mind: 

  • Doctors are human. Often very clever humans, sure, but still humans. They’ve seen it all before, and they’re here to help. Be honest about your weight loss concerns and that you’d like to know more about medication to help. 

  • Come prepared. Make a list of questions to ask and be ready with information about your diet, exercise habits, medical history and any weight loss methods you’ve tried. This will help you and your doctor work together to find the best weight loss treatments for you.  

  • Weight loss pills aren’t the only answer. Losing weight can be tricky, and there are maaaany factors at play. It’s not as simple as popping a pill (bummer, we know). But, again, working with a doctor can help you find the healthiest and most sustainable ways to lose weight, whether that’s prescription drugs or not. 

And know that you don’t have to embark on a weight loss journey alone. Reach out to your doctor or another healthcare professional, or look into weight loss treatments online for support.

8 Sources

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  2. Prescription Medications to Treat Overweight & Obesity. (n.d.). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/prescription-medications-treat-overweight-obesity
  3. Overweight & Obesity Statistics. (n.d.). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity
  4. Tchang, B. G., Aras, M., Kumar, R. B., Aronne, L. J. (2021, August 2). Pharmacologic Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Endotext. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279038/
  5. Talking with Your Patients about Weight. (n.d.). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/professionals/clinical-tools-patient-management/weight-management/talking-with-your-patients-about-weight?dkrd=/health-information/professionals/clinical-tools-patient-management/weight-management/talking-adult-patients-tips-primary-care-clinicians
  6. Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity. (2022). https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
  7. Losing Weight: Questions for the Doctor. (2023). https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/health-conditions/obesity/losing-weight-questions-doctor
  8. Aaseth, J., Ellefsen, S., Alehagen, U., Sundfør, T. M., & Alexander, J. (2021). Diets and drugs for weight loss and health in obesity - An update. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie, 140, 111789. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332221005710?via%3Dihub
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Mike Bohl, MD

Dr. Mike Bohl is a licensed physician, a Medical Advisor at Hims & Hers, and the Director of Scientific & Medical Content at a stealth biotech startup, where he is involved in pharmaceutical drug development. Prior to joining Hims & Hers, Dr. Bohl spent several years working in digital health, focusing on patient education. He has also worked in medical journalism for The Dr. Oz Show (receiving recognition for contributions from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences when the show won Outstanding Informative Talk Show at the 2016–2017 Daytime Emmy® Awards) and at Sharecare. He is a Medical Expert Board Member at Eat This, Not That! and a Board Member at International Veterinary Outreach.

Dr. Bohl obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine from Brown University, his Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and his Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies—Journalism from Harvard University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership at Cornell University. Dr. Bohl trained in internal medicine with a focus on community health at NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Bohl is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Medical Writer Certified by the American Medical Writers Association, a certified Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist by the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs. He has graduate certificates in Digital Storytelling and Marketing Management & Digital Strategy from Harvard Extension School and certificates in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Cornell Law School.

In addition to his written work, Dr. Bohl has experience creating medical segments for radio and producing patient education videos. He has also spent time conducting orthopedic and biomaterial research at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland and practicing clinically as a general practitioner on international medical aid projects with Medical Ministry International.

Dr. Bohl lives in Manhattan and enjoys biking, resistance training, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, tennis, and traveling. You can find Dr. Bohl on LinkedIn for more information.

Publications

  • Younesi, M., Knapik, D. M., Cumsky, J., Donmez, B. O., He, P., Islam, A., Learn, G., McClellan, P., Bohl, M., Gillespie, R. J., & Akkus, O. (2017). Effects of PDGF-BB delivery from heparinized collagen sutures on the healing of lacerated chicken flexor tendon in vivo. Acta biomaterialia, 63, 200–209. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1742706117305652?via%3Dihub

  • Gebhart, J. J., Weinberg, D. S., Bohl, M. S., & Liu, R. W. (2016). Relationship between pelvic incidence and osteoarthritis of the hip. Bone & joint research, 5(2), 66–72. https://boneandjoint.org.uk/Article/10.1302/2046-3758.52.2000552

  • Gebhart, J. J., Bohl, M. S., Weinberg, D. S., Cooperman, D. R., & Liu, R. W. (2015). Pelvic Incidence and Acetabular Version in Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Journal of pediatric orthopedics, 35(6), 565–570. https://journals.lww.com/pedorthopaedics/abstract/2015/09000/pelvic_incidence_and_acetabular_version_in_slipped.5.aspx

  • Islam, A., Bohl, M. S., Tsai, A. G., Younesi, M., Gillespie, R., & Akkus, O. (2015). Biomechanical evaluation of a novel suturing scheme for grafting load-bearing collagen scaffolds for rotator cuff repair. Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 30(7), 669–675. https://www.clinbiomech.com/article/S0268-0033(15)00143-6/fulltext

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