Are you tired of dealing with serious health issues due to your gained weight? Have you tried any diet or exercise but still can not lose desired weight? If you said yes to these questions, a weight loss medication to help you lose weight, prescribed by a doctor might be an option for you.
Prescription weight loss pills are special weight loss pills that a doctor gives you. You can not get them from a regular drugstore without the permission of the doctor, unlike the weight loss medication you can buy without prescription weight loss pills.
Do not forget that if you want to use prescription weight loss pills, you should still keep eating, exercising and healthy. These drugs are meant to be used together with good exercise and diet, not as a replacement for them.
Who can use weight-loss drugs?
Sometimes, your doctor might recommend weight loss drugs for you. This could happen if you have tried exercise and diet but still can not lose weight and if you have certain health conditions.
If your Body Mass Index (MBI) is more than 30, it means that you have a lot of body fat which is called obesity.
If your BMI is more than 27 and you also have a big health problem related to obesity, like blood pressure or diabetes, then you might have this condition too.
Before giving you weight loss medication, your doctor thinks about your past health and any problems you might have. Then they talk to you about the good and not-so-good things about prescription weight loss pills.
Not everyone can use these drugs. For example, if you have planned to have a baby, already pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should not take prescription weight loss pills.
How effective are weight loss drugs?
Weight-loss drugs prescribed for more than 12 weeks, which means you take them for a long time, can help you lose a lot of weight compared to not taking any medicine, just like a pretend weight loss treatment. When you combine these weight loss drugs with healthy lifestyle changes, you can lose even more weight than with lifestyle changes alone.
If you take these drugs for a whole year, you might lose about 3-12% more weight compared to only making lifestyle changes. It might not sound like a big difference, but losing about 10% of your weight and maintaining it can really help your health. It can lower your blood pressure, sugar levels in your blood, and a type of fat in your blood called triglycerides.
Important things to know about weight-loss drugs
These weight loss medication might cause some mild side effects like feeling sick, diarrhea, or constipation, but they usually get better with time. Sometimes, there can be serious side effects, but it is not common. That is why you should talk to your doctor about all the options for weight loss treatment and ask about the good and not-so-good things about each drug.
Weight loss drugs can cost a lot of money, and sometimes insurance does not pay for them. You should be aware of your insurance company to find out if they cover these weight loss pills.
After people stop taking weight loss drugs, they may gain back some of the weight they lost. But if you keep up with healthy habits, like eating well and staying active, it can help prevent gaining too much weight back.
How many days or months should I use the weight loss medication?
How long you need to take the drugs for weight loss depends on if it helps you lose weight or not. If weight loss pills that actually work, and you feel better and have not had any bad side effects, your doctor might tell you to keep taking it for a long time.
If, after taking the full amount of the weight loss medication for 3-6 months, you have not lost at least 5% of your weight, your doctor will likely try a different weight loss treatment. They might give you another weight loss medication to see if weight loss pills that actually work better for you.
Which weight loss medication can I take to help with weight loss?
The US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has approved and passed six weight loss pills or long-term use to help with weight loss. Have a look:
- Liraglutide (Saxenda)
- Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave)
- Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
- Setmelanotide (Imcivree)
- Semaglutide (Wegovy)
- Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
A number of prescription weight loss pills help you feel less hungry or more full. Some weight loss medications can do both things. The only exception is Orlistat, which changes how your body absorbs fat.
It is a special weight loss medication that combines two drugs. Naltrexone helps with alcohol and opioid addiction, while bupropion is for treating depression and helping people quit smoking. Bupropion-naltrexone may have a warning about the risk of feeling like harming yourself because it is an antidepressant.
This weight loss medication can make your blood pressure go up, so your doctor will check it regularly when you start taking it. Some common side effects are getting headaches, feeling sick, and constipation.
It is a weight loss medication used for diabetes management; You can take it with a shot every day. Feeling sick is something many people say they have when they take it. Sometimes, vomiting may make it hard for some people to keep using it.
You can get Orlistat in a weaker form without needing a prescription (Alli). Orlistat might cause some side effects like having loose stools and passing gas. When you take this weight loss medication, it is important to eat foods low in fat. Sometimes, very rarely, people have had serious liver problems with Orlistat, but scientists have not proven that the drug is the cause of these problems.
It is a mix of two weight loss medications: phentermine, which helps with weight loss, and topiramate, which is used for seizures. Phentermine is like a drug that can be misused because weight loss pills that actually work like a stimulant known as an amphetamine.
This weight loss medication might cause some other side effects like a faster heartbeat, higher blood pressure, trouble sleeping, nervous, and feeling constipated. If you take topiramate while pregnant, it could increase the chance of birth defects in the baby.
Phentermine on its own (like Lomaira and Adipex-P) is used to help with weight loss. It is considered one of four weight loss medications which appear to be similar to those that doctors approve for short-term use, which means you take them for less than 12 weeks. The other weight loss medications in this group are not used as much by doctors.
Semaglutide is a weight loss medication used to control type 2 diabetes. For obesity, you take it as a shot once a week.
It can have some side effects like:
- Vomiting and Nausea
- Belly pain
The FDA has only approved setmelanotide for people who are 6 years old and above and have obesity caused by certain rare inherited conditions.
- Pro-opiomelanocortin deficiency
- Leptin receptor deficiency
- Proprotein subtilisin-kexin type 1 deficiency
To consume the weight loss medication, you must get tests to show you have one of the given conditions. The medicine would not fix problems of the gene that causes these conditions. However, it can help you in losing weight. It can make you feel less hungry and make you feel like you are full. It might also help your body burn calories even when you are not doing any physical activity.
You need to take setmelanotide every day as a shot. It may cause side effects like:
- Irritated or swollen skin where the needle enters
- Darker skin patches
- Belly pain
- Suicidal thoughts
- sexual reactions, which are unwanted
Do not give setmelanotide to a child who is younger than 6 years old. It can cause harmful reactions in babies and newborns.
Weight loss drugs are not a quick fix for losing weight, but they can support you in making the necessary lifestyle changes to lose weight and get healthier.