Compare Saxenda with other weight loss treatments

Active Ingredient
Available doses
Lasts for
Made/marketed by
Pharmacy status
Prices starting at
Works in



Highly effective daily injection. It interacts with your brain to make you feel more full.

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6 mg/ml
Novo Nordisk
2-3 weeks



Easy weight loss, by weekly injection. Like Ozempic but a higher dose.

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Ozempic is a pre-filled injection that’s primarily for diabetes, but you can also use it ‘off-label’ for weight loss.

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0.25mg; 0.5mg; 1mg
Novo Nordisk
4 weeks



Branded version of Orlistat. It can help reduce how much fat is absorbed by the body.

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1-3 months


Naltrexone and Bupropion

A clinically proven weight loss pill. It works on receptors in the brain that control appetite.

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8 mg/90 mg
8 weeks
  • Manufacturers subject to change.
  • Start and duration of effects are estimations.
  • For more detailed information on your medication, read the patient information leaflet.

Is weight loss treatment right for me?

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This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 02, 2024.

How to choose a weight loss pill

How much we weigh can impact various aspects of our lives, it can hold us back from taking part in certain activities, make us feel unhappy or even impact our mental health. That’s why taking the decision to lose weight is a pretty big one.

Weight loss treatments can be used as part of a healthy weight loss course. However, there are several to choose from and reading up on them may feel overwhelming, especially when you’re looking for the diet pills that actually work.

We’re here to help you get a better understanding of the weight loss medication options available, so you can make the best decision for you.

How do weight loss pills work?

Weight loss pills such as Xenical and Alli work by effectively creating a barrier that stops fat from being absorbed into your intestines; this fat is passed naturally, which encourages weight loss in the process.

The combined active ingredients in Contrave work differently and instead act on the brain. Bupropion works to reduce your appetite and Naltrexone helps to curb food cravings so that you don’t feel the urge to eat as often.

What do diet pills do?

When diet pills are used as part of a healthy diet and exercise programme they can have a positive effect on weight loss. However, it’s not just a case of popping a pill and carrying on regardless, the user will also have to follow a diet plan to help them achieve the best results with the least amount of side effects.

When you decide to embark on a weight loss journey supported by weight loss pills your clinician will outline details of a calorie-controlled diet and a regular exercise plan. Following these instructions will help you achieve your weight loss goals. It’s recommended you speak to your physician before taking part in a high-intensity exercise programme.

Do weight loss pills work?

Licensed medicines like Contrave and Xenical have shown to be effective in aiding weight loss, as long as they’re used alongside a calorie controlled diet and exercise. However, how effective different weight loss medications are isn’t always directly comparable, because efficacy isn’t always measured in the same way.

Looking at the data available:

  • Clinical data for Alli found that an average of 46.7 percent of participants lost more than five percent of their weight, compared to 26.4 percent on the placebo, when taking it for six months.
  • For Xenical, 37 percent of study participants lost at least five percent of their body weight, compared with 19 percent of those taking the placebo, when taking it for 12 weeks.
  • For Contrave, 31 percent of participants observed a weight loss of five percent or greater, compared to the placebo group at 12 percent, when taking it for 56 weeks.
  • For Saxenda, 63.5 percent of study participants lost at least five percent of their body weight, compared to 26.6 percent in the placebo group, when taking it for 56 weeks.

Efficacy rates are a factor in what treatment you use, but they don’t necessarily decide which is best for you. One particular medicine might be better for you based on how much weight you aim to lose, or your medical history. So it’s always worth getting professional advice.

There is no magical weight loss pill that works overnight, however, if you follow the advice offered by your prescriber, and are determined to stick to your diet and exercise plan, then there are diet pills that work. There are some BMI boundaries that must be adhered to and, as previously mentioned, not all diet pills will work for everyone, but there are slimming pills that work in partnership with a diet and exercise programme to help you lose weight.

Xenical (orlistat) - pros and cons

Clinical trials have found that following 56 weeks of treatment participants using orlistat were found to have an eight percent weight loss, versus four percent in the placebo group. However, the clinical trials also revealed that some people experience unpleasant side effects, such as fatty stools or flatulence. As Xenical is taken orally it may be favored by users who aren’t keen on regular injections, like those used by Saxenda and Wegovy which have to be regularly injected and first demonstrated by a medical professional.

Alli – pros and cons

One of the advantages of Alli is that it is available without prescription, you will still need to speak to a pharmacist before they can provide you with the treatment, but the simpler access can be viewed as a benefit to some people. Clinical trials have proven that Alli is only marginally effective in comparison to various other weight loss pills as it is given at a lower dose. Both Xenical and Orlistat are administered in larger doses and so are often more effective at reducing weight. Alli might be more suitable for those who wish to lose a smaller amount of weight. Clinical trials have also revealed that taking Alli can result in uncomfortable side effects such as uncontrollable bowel movements, oily discharge, and gas from the anus.

Saxenda - pros and cons

The active ingredient in Saxenda, liraglutide, helped trial participants consistently lose at least five to 10 percent of weight when compared to placebo. It also regulates your hunger and fullness, and stabilizes your blood sugar. This can make you feel less cravings and give you better control over your eating habits. However, Saxenda is a prescription injection treatment that requires an initial demonstration by a healthcare professional. Regular injections may be off-putting to some patients. The most common side effects included nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Litramine/XLS-Medical – pros and cons

Litramine is perhaps viewed as a more gentle weight loss treatment as it can be ingested via tea, sachet, or tablet. Side effects from Litramine are mild if they occur at all. Litramine attaches itself to fat in the body and stops the fat being absorbed by the intestines. Clinical trials found it to absorb as much as 27% of dietary fats. It’s not HPFB approved and is more commonly seen outside Canada, but you should be able to get it online.

Victoza – pros and cons

Victoza is effective at helping people with Type 2 diabetes lose weight, as it can help the body control blood sugar levels, and over a course of 56 weeks has been proven to help lose substantial weight. However, Victoza has to be injected daily, which may not be appealing to everyone, and clinical trials on its effectiveness for non-diabetic overweight people are ongoing. It can be prescribed off-label for weight loss. Victoza can cause users to experience side effects of the digestive system. Its use may be unsuitable for patients with a family history of certain cancers.

Ozempic – pros and cons

Ozempic has been found to reduce blood sugar, lower the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. Clinical trials reported an average loss of 15.3kg after one year. In comparison, patients in the placebo trial lost only 2.6kg. When using Ozempic you can expect a reduction in waist circumference, blood sugar levels and glucose levels. This is a weekly injection treatment - which is much easier than daily Saxenda injections - but some people find injections off-putting full-stop, they aren’t for everyone. Side effects are minimal but include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting so could be uncomfortable. Is only available on prescription.

Wegovy - pros and cons

Wegovy also boasts the appeal of being a once weekly injection for weight loss. Although, the idea of self administering an injection can put some people off. The clinical trial results for Wegovy show that people lose more weight using semaglutide than when using liraglutide. Most side effects associated with Wegovy are gastrointestinal in nature, although headaches, tiredness and dizziness were also recorded. In most cases the side effects settled down quickly and didn’t stop patients from continuing with their treatment.

Contrave - pros and cons

Contrave will usually make you eat less food, which can cut out overeating habits and reduce your appetite. It’s also very effective. In a trial involving 1742 people, the Contrave group lost 6.1% of their body fat, compared with 1.3% of the placebo group. There is, however, a higher risk of side effects than there is with some other weight loss treatments, and you’ll need a prescription for it before you can buy and take it.

Are there any diet pills that work fast without exercise?

We’re afraid not. There are no magical solutions to losing weight. Weight loss medication can be used alongside a balanced diet and healthy exercise routine to help boost your weight loss goals. Adopting regular exercise into your routine should be viewed as an added positive, as it will help you with your weight loss journey but also provide other health benefits too. Exercise not only helps your physical health but your mental health too.

What is the best prescription diet pill on the market?

The best prescription diet pill for you is the one that fits with your lifestyle and your goals. Important aspects you need to take into consideration are side effects, administration and prescription. What is a good prescription weight loss pill for one person may be different to another person.

A medication that works and doesn’t cause uncomfortable side effects that allows you to enjoy a healthy lifestyle alongside it is a good prescription weight loss pill.

What are the best over-the-counter weight loss pills?

Alli and XLS are the only weight loss pills available without prescription, however, it’s always recommended you speak to a professional before commencing a weight loss programme of any kind. Alli has some uncomfortable side effects and in clinical trials offers minimal assistance when losing weight. XLS is a naturally based weight loss pill, has mild side effects, can absorb as much as 27% dietary fats but again might only help you shift a few extra pounds versus dieting and exercising alone.

How to safely use weight loss medication

Choosing to start a weight loss journey may seem daunting at first. Having all the information you need can make all the difference. Read more about weight loss medication and make sure you’re on the right path from start to finish so that you can safely achieve your goals.

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