19 Jan

Prescription Weight Loss Medicines: 5 Important Things to Know

At ZOOM Pharmacy, many of our customers have their prescription weight loss medicine Duromine (phentermine) or Xenical (orlistat) delivered direct to their door via our online medicine delivery service.

Here are some common questions many New Zealanders have asked our Lead Pharmacist Din Redzepagic and the team about these medications.

1.       Why has my doctor prescribed a weight loss medicine?

Prior to prescribing weight loss medication, your doctor will ask you to make changes to your lifestyle – including your diet, physical activity, and sleep routines.

Your doctor might prescribe a weight loss medicine for you if:

  • After 6 months, diet and other lifestyle changes have not made a significant positive difference to your weight, and
  • Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is higher than 30 kg/m2. You can work out your BMI using the Heart Foundation calculator

If you have other significant weight-related health issues, such as diabetes or sleep apnoea, your doctor might prescribe weight loss medication if your BMI is 27 – 30 kg/m2.

2.       Do weight loss pills work?

Duromine (phentermine) and Xenical (orlistat) are the only 2 prescription medicine pills (capsules) approved for use in New Zealand. Saxenda (liraglutide) is a self-injected medication which is also now available in NZ.

  • Phentermine works by suppressing appetite, so you do not feel as hungry
  • Orlistat works by preventing the absorption of fat from food
  • Liraglutide works by suppressing appetite and making you feel full and less hungry

These prescription medicines can help people lose a modest amount of weight.

However, weight loss medicines should always be used together with a medically controlled diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. They will not be effective when used on their own.

Used this way, the medication will usually help people lose more weight than they would otherwise lose with lifestyle changes alone.

Even a modest weight loss (5% – 10% of your body weight) can have important health benefits.

Your doctor will monitor the effectiveness of your medication closely. If it is not helping you lose at least 5% of your body weight, then your doctor is likely to stop this treatment.

3.       Are weight loss pills safe?

Like all medicines, prescription weight loss pills can have unwanted side effects. These can range from mild to (in rare cases) severe.

If you have been prescribed a weight loss medication, your doctor has weighed up the benefits you might gain against the risks of side-effects.

Your doctor will also monitor you closely for side effects. You should always let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are concerned, feeling unwell, or are suffering worrying side effects.

You can find detailed information on the safe use and possible side-effects of each medication here:

And of course, as with all prescription medicines, they should only be taken as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

4.       Is the cost of prescription weight loss medication subsidised?

Weight loss medications are not subsidised by the New Zealand government. This means you will need to pay the full cost of the medication. This can range from around $68 – $500 a month.

5.       What should I do if I have more questions about weight loss medication?

  • Do ask your doctor if you have any concerns or questions
  • You can also talk to one of our friendly ZOOM pharmacists on 0508 966 622. Our highly trained pharmacists are available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm to answer your questions. All conversations are confidential and will be specific to you. You don’t have to be an existing ZOOM customer to call us.  
  • If you prefer you can email customerservices@zoompharmacy.co.nz

Get your weight loss medication delivered to your door through Zoom Pharmacy

Get your weight loss medicine through ZOOM Pharmacy and have it delivered to your door in discreet packaging in 1-2 days. If you are on an unfunded medicine, visit the ZOOM Pharmacy SHOP to find out our great weight loss medication prices, for example Duromine (phentermine).  

To get started, simply send ZOOM your prescription. You can do this through your patient portal, or tell your medical centre to send it, or take a photo and securely upload your prescription, or freepost / courier it yourself. A pharmacist will then get in touch and take it from there.

Plus if you are on 4 or more funded prescription medicines, you get FREE prescritions, packing and delivery.


Get FREE prescriptions!

Anywhere in New Zealand! No matter what region you live in and your Alert Level, it’s business as usual when you choose ZOOM Pharmacy.

How to send your prescription

  • Use your patient portal
  • OR tell your medical centre to send it
  • OR freepost / courier it yourself
  • OR take a photo and securely upload your prescription by using the form below

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Find out more here or FreePhone 0508966622