The use of modern weight loss drugs for the treatment of obesity began in 1933 with the use of 2,4-dinitrophenol (2,4-DNP); 5 years later it was banned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 1 2

What has happened since that time? 

How far have we come? 

How many weight loss drugs are available now and how effective are they?

The short answer is there have been a lot of medications that have come and gone since that time with absolutely no impact on the growing rates of obesity. In fact, the rates of obesity have never been higher or have grown faster. 

Between the years of 1964 and 2009 we witnessed the withdraw of 25 anti-obesity medications.3 Withdrawal of these drugs was due to cardiovascular and psychiatric complications and adverse drug reactions that accounted for 83% of withdrawals.3  Another 27% cases resulted in death as attributed to by these drugs.3 Psychiatric disturbances, cardiotoxicity, or drug abuse and dependence accounted for more than 80% of withdrawals. The majority of anti-obesity medications have not been able to remain on the market due to the frequency and amount of adverse reactions reported. 

It should be noted that there was a 20 year period whereby no new approvals of anti-obesity medications were granted (1976-1995).5 Currently, the FDA has approved five drugs for long-term use when it comes to weight loss. These include orlistat, lorcaserin, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-buproprion, and liraglutide. That is all. Five drugs since 1933 for the treatment of obesity. What’s more disturbing is the relatively abysmal result of these drugs. A weight loss of 3-8% is reported the majority of the time over the course of a year. Even more alarming is that these results are all reported with diet and exercise implementation. What’s the point of taking medications with high rates of cardiac and psychiatric disturbances if the amount of weight lost is minimal. 

The Metabolism Clinic strongly advises against the use of weight loss medications. The prescription of weight loss medications is a reflection of the physician prescribing them. It demonstrates a real lack of understanding in regards to the metabolism. The metabolism is the cause of weight gain and to date no medication has been developed to address it. 


The Metabolism Clinic is established as the destination for weight loss and reversal of diabetes. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Table of Weight Loss Drugs withdrawn from the market:  Click Here.