Prescription medications are safe when used to help curb appetite and lessen thoughts of food; however, not all patients are candidates for them. A careful history and physical must be performed before medications are prescribed, and only patients with an elevated body mass index should take them. Being overweight is usually considered to be more dangerous than the potentially harmful side effects of the medications. Potential side effects must be closely monitored by a trained physician. Weekly or at the very minimum, bi-weekly visits are indicated.
Medications are sometimes used for maintenance patients, again, with the physician following the patient regularly. Patients must be careful to select a physician who has specific expertise in managing diseases such as high blood pressure, thyroid disease, and diabetes. Board Certification in Internal Medicine or Family Practice would be the specialties of choice. Psychiatrists may also be trained in eating disorders.
There are very strict laws and guidelines regulating the dispensation of controlled substances, however, many clinics simply ignore these guidelines ( which are clearly in place to protect patients from harm).