For those who have serious health concerns due to their weight and lifestyle changes have not resulted in significant weight loss, prescription medication to lose weight may be an alternative. You should know, though, that prescription weight-loss drugs don’t replace the need to make healthy changes in your eating habits and activity level.
Who’s a candidate for medication to lose weight?
Prescription weight-loss drugs are usually reserved for people who haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise, and who have health problems because of their weight. They are not for those who need to lose just a couple of pounds for cosmetic reasons. Your doctor may consider medication to lose weight for you if you haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise and you meet one of the following:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30.
- Your BMI is greater than 27, and you’ve got a serious medical issue associated with obesity, including diabetes or high blood pressure.
Before selecting a medication for you, your doctor will consider your health history, the possible side effects of the medications and any potential interaction of weight-loss drugs with other medications you’re taking.
How well do weight-loss drugs work?
When mixed with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise, medications to lose weight generate an average weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of overall body weight in a year, which is an average weight loss target. Diet and exercise are in charge of a part of the weight loss, and drugs are accountable for a part also.
Losing 5 to 10 percent of your overall weight might not appear to be much, but even small fat loss can boost your wellbeing by:
Falling blood pressure
- Decreasing lipid amounts
- Falling blood glucose levels
- Raising insulin sensitivity
It is vital that you bear in mind, nevertheless, that these drugs might not work for everybody. When you stop taking these medicines, you are likely to recover much or all the weight you lost.
This list reveals the presently accessible prescription weight-loss drugs, how they work and their unwanted effects.
Drug, Mechanism of action, Possible side effects
- Benzphetamine (Didrex) Decreases appetite, increases feeling of fullness. Increased blood pressure and heart rate, nervousness, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation.
- Diethylpropion (Tenuate) Decreases appetite, increases feeling of fullness. Headache, increased blood pressure and heart rate, nervousness, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation.
- Lorcaserin (Belviq) Decreases appetite, increases feeling of fullness Headache, nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, constipation.
- Naltrexone and bupropion extended-release (Contrave) Decreases appetite, increases feeling of fullness Nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness.
- Phendimetrazine Decreases appetite, increases feeling of fullness Increased blood pressure and heart rate, nervousness, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation.
- Phentermine (Adipex-P, Suprenza) Decreases appetite, increases feeling of fullness Headache, increased blood pressure and heart rate, nervousness, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation.
- Orlistat (Xenical) Blocks absorption of fat Decreased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, oily spotting, intestinal cramps, gas with discharge, diarrhea, fecal urgency and incontinence.
- Phentermine and topiramate extended-release (Qsymia) Decreases appetite, increases feeling of fullness Insomnia, dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, pins and needles feeling, changes in the sense of taste or smell.
- Liraglutide (Saxenda) Slows gastric emptying, increases feeling of fullness Nausea, vomiting, pancreatitis
Security of weight-loss drugs
Drugs for short term use
Diethylpropion (Tenuate), phentermine (Adipex P), benzphetamine (Didrex) and phendimetrazine are approved for just short term use usually less than 12 weeks. These drugs are classified as controlled substances since they possess the possibility to be abused. Due to potential unwanted side effects, these drugs are not recommended if you have heart disease, high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism.
Drugs for long term use
Orlistat (Xenical), lorcaserin (Belviq), phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia), naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave) and liraglutide (Saxenda) are approved for long-term use. Orlistat is, also, accessible a reduced-strength type with no prescription (Alli). Restricting your consumption of dietary fat is important when taking orlistat to minimize negative effects.
After orlistat had been approved, rare instances of serious liver injury were reported in some individuals taking it. No causal relationship was created. Nevertheless, Xenical and Alli tags now inform individuals taking orlistat to be alert to signs and symptoms which could signal liver injury, for example, itching, loss of appetite, yellow eyes or skin, light-colored feces, or brownish urine.
Lorcaserin (Belviq) initially raised concerns as it works somewhat like fenfluramine that was removed from the marketplace because it damaged heart valves. Nevertheless, there aren’t any signs that Belviq damages heart valves. Belviq may raise heart rate, so folks taking it may have to possess their heart rate assessed.
The mix drug Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate) raises the threat of birth defects. So, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the producer to truly have a hazard assessment and mitigation strategy (REMS). The REMS is meant to alert women to the dangers and describe the requirement to stop from becoming pregnant while taking Qsymia. Also, Qsymia is considered a controlled substance because one of its ingredients — phentermine — has the potential for abuse.
The mix drug Contrave features naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone is utilized to take care of alcohol and opioid addiction, while bupropion is an antidepressant that regularly reduces the threat of weight gain in folks who are making an effort to cease smoking. Contrave additionally can increase heart rate and blood pressure and might boost the risk of seizures. Bupropion can boost the risk of thoughts ideas and behaviors.
Liraglutide (Saxenda) is the latest drug to be qualified for weight reduction. The FDA approved it with the condition the producer have a REMS to educate physicians about the serious dangers connected with Saxenda. Saxenda has a boxed warning saying that tumors of the thyroid gland have been detected in animal studies but that it’s unknown whether Saxenda causes these tumors in people. Unlike the other weight-loss drugs, Saxenda is administered by injection once daily.
Variables to consider
In case you satisfy the standards for prescription medication to lose excess weight, you as well as your physician will have to rate the potential gains against the possible dangers of taking it.
Price also is a factor. Not all health insurance plans cover prescription weight-loss drugs. Adverse effects are common with weight-loss drugs, which might allow it to be tough to stay with treatment.
As you consider weight-loss drugs, ensure that you just make every attempt to work out, alter your eating habits and correct any other lifestyle variables which have led to your extra weight.
Weight-loss drugs aren’t the easy answer to weight loss, but they can be a useful tool to help you make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes. Keeping off the pounds you have lost, nevertheless, is a continuous issue. And lots of individuals, despite their attempts, still recover the weight.