If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.
Photo by Sgt. Edward Garibay

Can I Take This Prescription Weight Loss Drug?

Meeting weight standards and PT requirements are critical to your career, but you shouldn’t misuse prescription weight loss drugs to hit your goals. Here’s what you should know.

Can I use them as a Service member?

A health care provider may give you a prescription to use weight loss drugs, but you must meet Service branch requirements and have the necessary permissions and waivers.

  • Check your Service branch policy. The policy may vary by Service branch, career field and other specific conditions. This means that if a health care provider off-base prescribes a weight loss drug, it might not be allowed according to policy. You can make sure you only take medications that are allowed by filling your prescriptions at the MTF. Also, let your PCM know about all medications prescribed off-base.
  • Check for additional requirements. Even with a prescription from your health care provider, these kinds of medications may require participation in a behavioral modification program. Talk with medical and leadership as required by your branch’s policy.

What are prescription weight loss drugs?

Prescription weight loss drugs either make you feel less hungry, fuller after eating less food or reduce the amount of fat or starch your body absorbs. They are often called “diet pills.”

Prescription weight loss drugs that may be available to active duty Service members include:

  • Phentermine
  • Benzphetamine
  • Diethylpropion
  • Phendimetrazine

What are the risks?

More than weight is on the line. Prescription weight loss drugs can have side effects, so it is important to only use them under the right circumstances. Common side effects can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in taste
  • Trouble sleeping

How do I lose weight safely without medication?

It may take time and hard work, but here are safe ways to help you get started:

  • Think ahead about your weight. Maintaining weight or meeting standards can take time. Keep your weight in check so you’re ready when it’s time for your PT test.
  • Talk to your health care provider about any concerns and safe ways to lose weight.
  • Make it a team effort. Tell your family or friends about your weight goals so they can help you and encourage you when things get hard.
  • Learn about healthy eating, calories and portions. Knowing the nutrition details of your food can help you make healthier decisions. Check to see if your MTF has a dietician you can make an appointment with.
  • Add physical activity to your routine. Look at your schedule and lifestyle and see where you can add more movement. Take the longer route to the dining facility or opt for stairs instead of the elevator.

Prescription weight loss drugs might seem like an easy fix, but they might not be right for you. Misusing them can put you and your career at risk. With planning and hard work, you can safely meet your weight goals and stay within military standards. If you are concerned about your eating or weight loss habits, talk to your health care provider.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.