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  • Writer's pictureRukia Sheppard

Slimming Patches

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Do weight loss patches work? Although some weight loss patches may claim to be clinically tested, dietary supplements like these aren’t required to undergo the same level of rigorous testing as medications and medical

Slimming Patches

Written by Chelsea Boyd and reviewed by Yael Cooperman { 2021} Cited in {

How can you tell if a weight loss product works?

Losing weight is difficult, and it can be even harder with the many weight loss products out there making bold, unsubstantiated promises about shedding weight at the snap of a finger.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has brought cases against hundreds of products making false weight-loss claims. Here are seven tips from the FTC that should help you spot false weight-loss claims in advertisements (FTC, 2014):

  1. Without big changes to diet and exercise, losing two or more pounds per week for more than a month is considered unlikely.

  2. Since weight loss requires using more calories than you consume, it’s an unrealistic claim to say that you can eat anything you want and still lose a substantial amount of weight.

  3. Without lifestyle changes, even proven weight loss products can’t prevent weight gain after you stop using them, so a dietary supplement that claims it works even when you stop using it is likely making a false statement.

  4. Over-the-counter products that say they can prevent the absorption of fat or calories likely are making false claims.

  5. Be suspicious of products promising to help you lose more than three pounds per week for more than a month.

  6. Be wary of products touting significant weight loss results for everyone who uses the product.

  7. Products you wear or rub on your skin are unlikely to cause significant weight loss.

While these tips are a good way to spot false claims, they aren’t foolproof. If you have any doubts about the safety or effectiveness of a weight loss product, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before using the product.

Alternatives to weight loss patches

Although they don’t offer the allure of instant gratification, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are the best alternatives to weight loss patches. Sustained weight loss ultimately comes down to consuming fewer calories than you use.

There are a few products that science shows may have small effects on appetite or weight loss, including fibre supplements, green tea, and caffeine (National Academy of Science, 2018).

However, if lifestyle changes aren’t producing the desired results, there are FDA-approved treatments that can help with weight loss, and bariatric surgery is an option for some people who are struggling with obesity.

It’s recommended that adults get at least 2.5 to five hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. There are tons of different activities that fall into this category including walking, biking, swimming, and some forms of yoga.

You can also set weekly activity goals to promote weight loss––reaching your targets will also improve things like sleep and overall wellness while reducing the risk for chronic diseases, as well as anxiety and depression (HHS, 2018).

Although exercise is an important component of healthy weight loss, you can’t outrun a bad diet. Counting calories and keeping portion sizes in line with guidelines are good places to start when monitoring your diet.

A miracle diet plan that works for everyone doesn’t exist, but people can still be successful with different diets, many of which can be customized depending on each person’s needs and goals. Intermittent fasting and the Mediterranean diet are two diet methods that are popular and supported by scientific evidence.

Regardless of the plan you choose, any diet should include vegetables of all types, whole fruits, whole grains, and proteins including lean meats, legumes, and eggs. Foods with added sugars should be less than 10% of your daily calorie intake (USDA, 2020).

Keep in mind, losing one to two pounds per week is a healthy goal for sustained weight loss. Other tips to help start and maintain weight loss are eating breakfast, weighing yourself regularly, keeping your eating pattern consistent, and catching small increases in weight before they turn into large regains (Hall, 2018).

While not a substitute for diet and exercise, some people may want to consider one of the six FDA-approved weight loss pills to help them reach their weight loss goals. Speak to a healthcare provider before using these products as weight loss pills are not appropriate for everyone. Some of the most commonly prescribed weight loss pills are (Gadde, 2020):

  • Phentermine: This drug accounts for about 80% of all weight loss pill prescriptions in the United States. Although only approved for short-term use, it is often prescribed for longer periods. One study showed that people who took phentermine lost an average of 6.1% of their weight. The most common side effects are insomnia, dry mouth, and constipation. When combined with a drug called topiramate, the combination has been shown to result in an average weight loss of 8.9%.

  • Liraglutide: The use of this drug resulted in an average weight loss of 5.2% in a clinical trial. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure. The most common side effects are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

  • Naltrexone/bupropion: The combination of these drugs led to a 4.2% average reduction in weight during a clinical trial. Alone, naltrexone is used to treat alcohol use disorder and bupropion is used to treat depression and to help people quit smoking. This combination can increase blood pressure in some patients, and nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headache are the most common side effects.

The idea of a weight loss patch might be tempting but remember that these products often don’t live up to the claims you see on the package. If you want to lose weight, talk to a healthcare professional about what options are available to you. With the right tools and support, sustained weight loss and weight management are possible.

Disclaimer If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles in Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


  1. Berardesca, E., Abril, E., Rona, C., Vesnaver, R., Cenni, A., & Oliva, M. (2012). An effective night slimming topical treatment. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 34(3), 263–272. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00712.x. Retrieved from

  2. Devane, J., Mulligan, S., Foynes, M., & Martin, M. (1991). In-vivo pharmacokinetic characteristics of a transdermal phenylpropanolamine (PPA) preparation. European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Spec No 3, 297–299. Retrieved from

  3. Federal Trade Commission. (2014, January). Gut Check: A Reference Guide for Media on Spotting False Weight Loss Claims. Retrieved March 1, 2021 from

  4. Gadde, K. M., & Atkins, K. D. (2020). The Limits and Challenges of Antiobesity Pharmacotherapy. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 1–10. doi:10.1080/14656566.2020.1748599. Retrieved from

  5. Hall, K. D., & Kahan, S. (2018). Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. The Medical Clinics of North America, 102(1), 183–197. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012. Retrieved from

  6. National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering. (2018, December 21). Based on Science: Most Vitamins and Supplements Do Not Help with Weight Loss. Retrieved March 24, 2021 from

  7. Pastore, M. N., Kalia, Y. N., Horstmann, M., & Roberts, M. S. (2015). Transdermal patches: history, development and pharmacology. British Journal of Pharmacology, 172(9), 2179–2209. doi: 10.1111/bph.13059. Retrieved from

  8. Roure, R., Oddos, T., Rossi, A., Vial, F., & Bertin, C. (2011). Evaluation of the efficacy of a topical cosmetic slimming product combining tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine, caffeine, carnitine, forskolin and retinol, In vitro, ex vivo and in vivo studies. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 33(6), 519–526. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2011.00665.x. Retrieved from

  9. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2020, December). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. Retrieved March 2, 2021 from

  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, April 6). Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved March 24, 2021 from

  11. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved March 2, 2021 from

  12. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015, January 5). Beware of Products Promising Miracle Weight Loss. Retrieved March 2, 2021 from

  13. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017, December 13). Questions and Answers on Health Claims in Food Labeling. Retrieved March 2, 2021 from

  14. Zerini, I., Sisti, A., Cuomo, R., Ciappi, S., Russo, F., Brandi, C., D’Aniello, C., & Nisi, G. (2015). Cellulite treatment: a comprehensive literature review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 14(3), 224–240. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12154. Retrieved from

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