Weight Loss Medications

There are a lot of weight loss drugs out there, but not all are created equal. Some weight loss drugs are more effective than others, and some have more side effects. Here’s a look at some of the best weight loss drugs on the market.

Who is a candidate for weight loss drugs?

Weight loss drugs are generally only prescribed to people who are obese and have failed to lose weight through diet and exercise, have a BMI greater than 27, and have an obesity-related disease like hypertension or diabetes. Weight loss drugs are not a quick fix and are not for everyone.

Your body mass index (BMI) measures your weight to your height. A BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese, and a BMI of 27 or greater is considered overweight.

Before selecting a medicine for you, your doctor will consider your history and health challenges. Then your doctor will discuss the pros and cons of prescription weight-loss drugs.

 

Categories of weight loss prescription drugs:

There are three main categories of weight loss drugs: those that work by suppressing appetite and increasing metabolism and those that work by preventing fat absorption.

Appetite suppressants:

Appetite suppressants are weight loss drugs that work by reducing hunger and cravings. Some common appetite suppressants include phentermine, bupropion, and naltrexone.

Fat blockers:

Fat blockers are weight loss drugs that work by preventing the absorption of fat. Orlistat is a common fat blocker.

Metabolism stimulators:

Metabolism stimulators are weight loss drugs that work by increasing metabolism.

Here are some of the common weight loss drugs on the market for weight loss:

weight-loss-drugs-semaglutide-atlanta

  1. Saxenda( Liraglutide) Saxenda is a weight loss drug that helps you lose weight by affecting your appetite. Your body naturally produces an appetite hormone known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that helps to regulate your hunger. Saxenda® works like GLP-1 by controlling your appetite, leading to eating fewer calories and losing weight. It decreases your desire to eat, so you eat less and lose weight. Saxenda can cause some side effects, including headaches and dizziness, but these are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  2. Semaglutide ( Wegovy) Works like GLP-1 hormone to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease appetite. Semaglutide was initially approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes and is prescribed for that use under the names Ozempic and Rybelsus. As Wegovy, it is specifically for the treatment of obesity. Like GLP-1, Semaglutide prevents fat storage, improves glucose control, helps the body absorb food better, improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces blood cholesterol levels. It also works by inhibiting the action of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. Ghrelin, aka the Hunger Hormone, is produced by the stomach and is released when you are hungry. Semaglutide is administered at home as a weekly injection. The average semaglutide injection weight loss program lasts six months. Nutritional supplements like multivitamins and protein shakes are recommended since semaglutide can greatly reduce one’s food intake. On average, people taking semaglutide lose 3 to 5 pounds in the first month and up to 10 in the second. In clinical studies, people who took semaglutide lost an average of 5.2 pounds per month during a six-month period.
  3. Phentermine: Phentermine is a prescription weight loss drug that suppresses your appetite. It works by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that controls hunger. Phentermine can cause some side effects, including headaches and dizziness, but these are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  4. Qsymia: Qsymia is a combination of two drugs, phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine suppresses your appetite, while topiramate helps you lose weight by increasing your metabolism, so you eat less and lose weight. Qsymia can cause some side effects, including gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, which are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  5. Xenical: Xenical is a weight loss medication that blocks your body from absorbing about 30% of the fat you eat. It prevents your body from absorbing fat, so you eat less and lose weight. Xenical can cause some side effects, including gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, but these are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  6. Contrave: Contrave is a weight loss drug that helps you lose weight by affecting your appetite. It decreases your desire to eat, so you eat less and lose weight. Contrave can cause some side effects, including headaches and dizziness, but these are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  7. Orlistat: Orlistat is a weight loss drug that helps you lose weight by blocking your body from absorbing about 30% of the fat you eat. It prevents your body from breaking down and absorbing fat, so you eat less and lose weight. Orlistat can cause some side effects, including gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, which are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  8. Topiramate: Topiramate is a weight loss medication that works by affecting your appetite. It decreases your desire to eat, so you eat less and lose weight. Topiramate is a drug used to control seizures and migraines. It is not FDA-approved alone for weight loss, but some doctors use it if patients with seizures or migraines want to lose weight. Topiramate can cause some side effects, including headaches and dizziness, but these are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  9. Bupropion: Bupropion is a weight loss medication that works by increasing your metabolism. It prevents your body from absorbing about 30% of the fat you eat. Bupropion can cause some side effects, including gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, which are usually mild and go away after a few days.
  10. Plenity: Plenity is a weight loss medication that helps you lose weight by filling you up, so you eat less. It works by absorbing water and expanding your stomach, so you feel full and eat less. Plenity can cause some side effects, including gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, which are usually mild and go away after a few days.

Common side effects of weight loss drugs include :

– Headaches

– Dizziness

– Nausea

– Diarrhea

– Constipation

– Dry mouth

– Increased heart rate and blood pressure

– Insomnia

Weight loss drugs are not for everyone. If you are considering a weight loss drug, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes. Also, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some weight loss drugs can interact with other medications and cause serious side effects.

 

Things to know before starting a weight loss program:

-Prescription drugs can help those who have failed weight loss with diet and exercise. However, it is essential to identify underlying factors like hormone problems that can make it difficult to lose weight. Patients with hormone problems are less likely to lose weight with diet, exercise, and prescription drugs. Ask your holistic doctor about hormone testing before starting a prescription weight loss program.

Blood testing can often miss hormone problems. If your blood test is normal, but you think you may have a hormone problem, ask your doctor about saliva hormone testing to check your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA levels. Did you know that you can fall within the normal blood range of hormones but still have a hormone problem? Blood ranges are established by drawing the blood of individuals that live in a specific area. Ranges don’t consider that samples may come from sick individuals. Therefore, your results can fall within the normal range but be sick.

Never accept the lower ranges of blood test results as normal for you, especially if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with hormone or nutritional deficiencies. Find a holistic doctor who understands better how to intrepid blood and saliva test results.

-Set realistic goals. If you are overweight, aim to lose 5-10% of your body weight over 6 months. If you are obese, aim to lose 10-20% of your body weight over six months.

-Choose a healthy diet and exercise program that you can stick with long-term. Many fad diets and exercise programs out there promise quick results, but they are often difficult to maintain in the long term.

-Talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss program, especially if you have any health conditions or take medication. Some weight loss drugs can interact with other medications and cause serious side effects.

-Be patient. Weight loss takes time, and it is not always easy. Be patient, and don’t give up if you have a setback.

How to keep weight off after a weight loss program :

-A weight loss program is not a quick fix. It requires long-term changes in diet and exercise habits.

-To keep weight off after a weight loss program, you must make permanent changes to your lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Supplements can also help you keep weight off.

-It is also essential to manage stress, get enough sleep, and avoid trigger foods leading to weight gain.

About Author

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D., originally from Atlanta, Georgia, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Spelman College. She later received her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine. She completed her Family Practice training at Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia and her psychiatry residency at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Bell-Taylor has extensive post-graduate medical training in Functional, Integrative, and Anti-Aging Medicine. She is certified in Functional Medicine. Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D. is a holistic doctor with a focus on functional and integrative medicine. Combining functional medicine with her knowledge of conventional medicine has enabled Dr. Bell-Taylor to help many patients suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, attention-deficient, dementia, and eating disorders. Dr. Bell-Taylor specializes in functional medicine with a special emphasis on how hormone disorders, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and nutritional deficiencies contribute to brain dysfunction, like depression, attention deficiency, anxiety, insomnia, dementia, and other chronic medical illnesses. Dr. Ava Bell- Taylor is the co-author with her husband, Eldred B, Taylor, M.D, of two must-read books, Are Your Hormone Making You Sick? and The Stress Connection: How Adrenal Gland Dysfunction Effects Your Health.