In general, military regulations prohibit the routine use of weight-loss prescription medications and only approve their short-term use under very specific conditions. However, each service has its own specific policies. See the documents linked below for details of those conditions.
Whenever possible, use a provider at your installation’s Medical Treatment Facility (MTF), as he/she should be knowledgeable about your service’s policy with regard to weight-loss medications, as well as any local controls that may exist. If for some reason you do go to a civilian provider, take your prescription to an MTF pharmacy; if your MTF pharmacy cannot fill such prescriptions from civilian providers, consult with your MTF before having the prescription filled elsewhere. This could help prevent problems with urinalysis testing and going against policy.
Service-specific and DoD policies on the use of weight-loss prescription medications:
- Air Force: Air Force Instruction 44-102 (Medical Care Management) dated 17 March 2015, especially Section 3C—Use of Weight Control Drugs and Surgery.
- Army: Army Regulation 40-3 (Medical, Dental, and Veterinary Care) dated 23 April 2013, especially Sections 11-10 and 11-11 and Appendix B, Controlled substances
- Navy and Marines: NAVMED Policy 07-011 (Anorexiant and Weight Loss Medications...) dated 22 October 2007, and references cited, and OPNAVINST 5350.4d (Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Control) date 04 June 2009
- Coast Guard: COMDTINST M6000.1F (Coast Guard Medical Manual) dated February 2017, especially Chapter 10, Section A, Pharmacy Administration, and Section B, Controlled Substances.
- DoD: DoDI 1010.01 (Military Personnel Drug Abuse Testing Program) dated 13 September 2012. Also, DoDI 1010.16 (Technical Procedures for MPDATP) dated 10 October 2012
Just a reminder: This FAQ refers to prescription medications for weight loss (that is, drugs), not dietary supplements. For information about weight-loss dietary supplements, please see our OPSS articles about weight loss.
Note that these policies/documents are updated at various times, so be sure to check with your MTF provider about any new changes to policy.
OPSS does not provide medical advice, and we always recommend talking to a military healthcare provider before taking any medications.
Updated 26 February 2019