Question for Betty.

Can you take weight loss pills when you are on birth control?

Betty's Answer.

The answer to this question depends on what type of birth control you are using, and what weight loss pills you are taking.  In general it is important to review any medications or over-the-counter supplements you are contemplating taking with your health care provider.  If you are taking oral contraceptives (OCPs), you do not want to take anything that would interfere with their absorption or which could increase your blood pressure. 

Prescription weight loss drugs such as Sibutramine (Meridia), and Orlistat (Xenical), could affect your oral contraceptive effectiveness.  Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant which may increase your blood pressure, and so would require monitoring, and Orlistat reduces dietary fat absorption, often causing loose oily stool, or diarrhea.  This could affect OCP absorption if transit time through the gut is decreased.

Over-the-counter dietary supplements are widely use, but, the safety and efficacy of these products are unproven.  Two dietary supplements from Brazil, marketed as Emagrace Slim and herbathin have been shown to contain prescription drugs, and the FDA has warned of potential danger in taking these supplements.  Hoodia gordonii (a South African plant derivitive) has not been proven to be safe or effective.  There are numerous other supplements being marketed for weight loss, but are unproven to be safe or effective.

The bottom line is no, do not take any weight loss drug or dietary supplement without your health care providers okay.

Your health care provider can help you look at your weight loss goal, and suggest nutritional and exercise guidelines.