Medical Weight Loss

Prescription Weight Loss Meds

Obesity has received considerable attention as a major health hazard. Worldwide, at least 2.8 million overweight or obese people die due to adverse metabolic effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides (type of fat in the blood) and insulin. Risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various cancers increase steadily with increasing body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of overweight and obesity were highest in America (62% for overweight in both genders and 26% for obesity) and lowest in South East Asia (14% overweight in both genders and 3% for obesity). The prevalence of obesity is higher in women than in men.

Obesity is caused by a complex interaction between the environment, genes, and lifestyle. Environmental factors are likely to be major contributors to higher prevalence of obesity. It is certain that obesity develops when there is increased energy intake than energy expenditure. Numerous research supports the contribution of both excess energy intake and decreased energy expenditure in the obesity epidemic.

 

Prescription weight loss medications

Prescription weight loss drugs also called anti-obesity drugs or diet pills, are prescribed to a patient as an additional tool for weight loss treatment. Additional tools to medication treatment usually include a nutritional plan as well as a regular exercise program. Prescription weight loss drugs may be an option for overweight or obese patients who have serious health risks, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol and cannot control their weight with proper diet and regular exercise alone. They’re not for people who want to lose weight for cosmetic reasons. Your doctor may consider prescribing weight loss medications if you don’t respond to 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 have a serious medical problem related to obesity.

Over one year, patients using prescribed weight loss drugs together with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise may lose 5 to 10 percent of their initial body weight. This may not seem like much, but even modest weight loss can help improve your health by:

  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Decreasing blood sugar levels
  • Decreasing lipid levels
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity

Before selecting a weight loss medication for you, your doctor will consider your health history as well as the potential side effects and risks of taking the medication. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these medications should not be used as a substitute for healthful eating and a regular exercise program.

 

Xenical

Xenical (Orlistat) works by blocking some of the fat you eat, keeping it from being absorbed by your body. This drug is used to aid in weight loss, or to help reduce the risk of regaining weight that is already lost. Orlistat is over-the-counter under the brand name Alli for persons 18 years and above. A standard dose of Orlistat 120 mg capsule three times a day is effective and well-tolerated in most patients and can be employed as an adjunct to healthy lifestyle changes to achieve and maintain optimal weight.

 

Side Effects

Common Xenical side effects are caused by its fat-blocking action and are usually temporary and may lessen over time. These side effects are signs that the medicine is working properly:

  • gas and oily discharge
  • increased number of bowel movements
  • loose stools, or inability to control bowel movements
  • nausea
  • oily or fatty stools
  • oily spotting in your undergarments
  • orange or brown colored oil in your stool
  • rectal pain
  • stomach pain

You should not take Xenical if you are pregnant, or if you have gallbladder problems, thyroid problems, liver disease, and eating disorders. Avoid high fat diet while taking Xenical as this can increase unpleasant side effects on your stomach or intestines.

 

Belviq

Belviq (Lorcaserin) works by affecting brain chemicals responsible for controlling appetite. It is used together with proper diet and regular exercise to treat obesity. Belviq 10 mg administered orally twice daily is effective in reducing general body weight.

 

Side Effects

Less serious side effects of Belviq may include:

  • back pain
  • constipation
  • cough
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • nausea

You should not use Belviq if you are allergic to Lorcaserin, or if you are pregnant. Before you take Belviq, consult with your doctor if you have heart problems, diabetes, anemia, kidney or liver disease, or physical deformity of the penis.

 

Contrave

Contrave works in the hypothalamus, the brain’s central thermostat that controls appetite, temperature, and energy expenditure. It’s a combination of two existing drugs: The antidepressant Wellbutrin and the addiction drug Naltrexone.  When taken in conjunction with a low-calorie meal plan and regular exercise, it should help you lose weight. The recommended dosage of Contrave is 1 tablet (90mg/8mg) initially in the first week and is increased by 1 tablet per day each subsequent week.

 

Side effects

Less serious side effects of Contrave include

  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Contrave is contraindicated for those with uncontrolled hypertension, seizures, eating disorders, psychiatric disorders, and pregnant women.

 

Saxenda

Saxenda is indicated for chronic weight management in adult patients as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise. It mimics a hormone made in the intestines called GLP-1 which tells your brain that you’re full. The most effective dosage of Saxenda is 3 mg daily given as injections.

 

Side effects

Most common side effects are:

  • abdominal discomforts
  • back pain
  • belching
  • constipation
  • decreased appetite
  • indigestion
  • sneezing
  • stuffy nose
  • unpleasant taste
  • urge to have bowel movement

Saxenda is contraindicated for those with thyroid disorders, tumors, allergy to Liraglutide or any of the ingredients in Saxenda, and pregnant women.

 

Suprenza

Suprenza (Phentermine hydrochloride) is an appetite suppressant that affects the central nervous system. It is used together with diet and exercise to treat obesity. The usual adult dose is one tablet administered in the morning, with or without food.

 

Side effects

General side effects include:

  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • itching
  • skin redness or rashes
  • unpleasant taste
  • upset stomach

Do not use Suprenza if you are pregnant, allergic to any ingredient in Suprenza, has thyroid disorders, stroke, or heart problems.

 

Qsymia

Qsymia contains a combination of Phentermine and Topiramate in an extended-release capsule. Phentermine is an appetite suppressant while Topiramate is a seizure medication. Qsymia is used together with diet and exercise to treat obesity. The most effective dose of Qsymia is 3.75 mg/23 mg for 14 days and is increased to 7.5 mg/46 mg after.

 

Side effects

Most common side effects are:

  • back pain
  • belching
  • change in taste
  • constipation
  • decreased appetite
  • indigestion
  • loss of taste
  • sneezing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • trouble sleeping

 

Do I still need to exercise if I’m on a diet pill?

Practically every supplement’s label will tell you that if you want to lose weight, you’ll also need to eat healthy diet and exercise regularly. Weight loss drugs combined with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise may help you lose only 5 to 10 percent of your initial body weight within a year. Diet pills alone won’t help you shed more pounds. It should be thought of as a boost to dieting and exercise, not a replacement for either.