Prescription Weight Loss Drugs – What’s the Skinny Scoop for These Pills? – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Prescription weight loss drugs, also called obesity drugs, are drugs that can be taken by adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher or between 25 and 29.9 with a medical condition linked to obesity such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or sleep apnea.

The three prescription weight-loss drugs currently approved in the United States are Orlistat (Xenical, generic version: Alli), Meridia (sibutramine, generic version: Reductil), and Qsymia (sustained-release phentermine and topiramate). Note: Phenidimetrazine is no longer available due to serious side effects including heart problems.

Research shows that prescription weight-loss drugs can be effective when combined with a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Orlistat blocks some of the fat you eat from being absorbed by your body, allowing your gut to absorb fewer calories from the fat you eat. Phentermine stimulates specific receptors in the brain, making you feel less hungry. Topiramate reduces your desire to eat by affecting chemicals in the brain that communicate hunger signals between nerve cells.

Side effects of prescription weight loss drugs

Prescription weight loss medications can cause serious side effects or interactions with other medications, so it is essential that they are only used under the supervision and direction of a physician. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory about combining prescription weight-loss drugs with other drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) – also prescribed for Parkinson’s disease and depression – due to potentially serious side effects. These side effects can include heart problems, chills and spasms. Additionally, the FDA has warned that taking more than the recommended dose of sibutramine can cause dangerous high blood pressure or serious heart problems.

Some Research on Prescription Weight Loss Drugs

In 2009, the FDA reviewed clinical trial data on Qsymia due to concerns about a possible increased risk of congenital disabilities. The agency required VIVUS to conduct a post-marketing study to investigate this issue further.

Additionally, in 2009, after extensive review by a joint committee representing multiple federal agencies, the FDA removed the clinical indication for the use of Meridia due to concerns about serious heart-related side effects.

Orlistat, phentermine and topiramate are not approved for children or adolescents. Orlistat can cause serious kidney damage if taken without enough fluid, vomiting, diarrhea, fatty stools, passing gas, excessive fat in the chair, or if used with another weight-loss medicine that it is not supposed to be taken with (such as some anti-HIV medicines). Topiramate can increase your appetite or make you nervous, and some people have had depression. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor before taking these medicines.

Who can take weight-loss drugs?

Weight loss medication may be an option for you if you haven’t lost weight through diet and exercise alone.

The first step is to talk to your doctor about your weight, any medical problems that could be avoided or improved by losing weight, and the type of treatment plan that would be best for you.

Your doctor may consider prescribing a weight-loss medication if:

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
  • Your BMI is between 27 and 29 and you have serious obesity-related medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. You plan to make lifestyle changes, such as eating less and exercising more. Your doctor will want follow-up information every 1 to 3 months while you are taking the medication.

Thereafter, your doctor will want to see you at least every 3 to 6 months while you are taking the weight loss medication. You should also follow up with your primary care physician or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) about your weight, exercise routine, and eating habits.

Anyone under the age of 18 should not take weight-loss medication without first consulting their doctor.

If you stop taking the medicine, it will not prevent weight loss from resuming during treatment. After talking with your doctor about the type of medicine that is best for you, they can give you more information about what you can expect from the medicine and possible side effects.

A weight-loss medication can come in the form of a pill, injection, or skin patch. A doctor can tell you how much medicine to take, when to take it, and for how long.

How do weight loss drugs work?

About 60-80% of people taking these drugs lose at least 5% of their body weight in a year. By comparison, about 40% to 70% of people using lifestyle changes alone achieve this level of success, meaning the combination is much more effective than lifestyle changes alone. However, since not all drugs work for everyone and participants lost a smaller percentage of their initial weight with VLCDs (restricted calorie diets) compared to other methods, they found it best to put patients on a healthy diet and exercise plan before giving medication.

Older adults may need lower doses than younger adults because older adults tend to have less body water, which causes orlistat to be eliminated from the body more slowly.

How long should you take weight loss medication?

Patients can use these drugs for up to 1 year when combined with lifestyle changes. However, the FDA has approved these drugs for only 12 weeks when used alone. Weight loss is typically less than 10 pounds above that achieved with lifestyle changes over a year.[1][2]

A study found that the use of weight-loss drugs may not be effective in helping people lose more weight compared to those with healthier diets and exercise plans alone, as most participants lost a lower percentage of their initial weight with VLCDs (restricted calorie diets) compared to other methods.

Weight-loss drugs may only be effective in the short term, as people who take them typically regain about half or more of their weight within 5 years. Indeed, the rate at which the body reduces its energy stores, even during caloric restriction, is not very different from that which occurs when no food is consumed.

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