How weight loss medication can help you
Do you want to lose a few pounds, kick that COVID weight gain to the curb, or is your BMI clearly too high? There are many ways to lose weight. And they all start with a healthy diet and exercise. But sometimes you may need a little extra help in addition to making healthy lifestyle changes. Or perhaps you want to see results sooner in order to stay motivated. Alongside a healthy diet and exercise, there are products you can buy at the chemists (e.g. meal replacement bars and shakes, or diet tea and supplements) that may aid you in your weight loss journey. You could also consider taking weight loss medication. This blog explains what weight loss medication is, what kinds of weight loss medications are out there, the benefits of weight loss medication, the concerns of using weight loss medication, and what to keep in mind when you start using them.
What is weight loss medication?
Weight loss medication is prescribed to treat patients who are overweight or obese. There are medications that reduce appetite or help you feel full faster. Other medications reduce the amount of fat that is absorbed into the body.
What types of weight-loss medications are available?
There are many different kinds of weight loss medications. We will discuss five of them that are safe for use:
- Regenon, also known as Tenuate, is a class of medicine called an appetite suppressant. The active ingredient diethylpropion decreases appetite. Regenon is usually used on a short-term basis (a few weeks) to help you lose weight. It is not suitable for use in long-term use.
- Saxenda is an injectable weight loss medicine that controls blood sugar levels. As a result, the stomach is less likely to send hunger signals to the brain, which helps prevent overeating.
- Xenical helps block about one-third of the fat in the foods you eat from being absorbed by your body.
- Mysimba contains two main active ingredients, naltrexone hydrochloride and bupropion hydrochloride, which play a critical role in the control of food intake and energy expenditure. Mysimba can help you lose 5 percent of your total body weight in 16 weeks. If this is not the case, your doctor will evaluate if you should continue taking Mysimba.
- Orlistat works by preventing some of the fat you consume from being digested. The fat that cannot be digested is eliminated from your body in your stools.
There are also other prescription-free products that contribute to weight loss, such as:
- fat blockers
- fat burners
- appetite suppressants
- meal replacement products
What are the benefits of weight loss medication?
If weight loss medication is used alongside lifestyle changes, such as eating a proper diet and more exercise, it can aid people in meeting their weight loss goals. On average, people who take prescription weight-loss medications as part of a lifestyle program lose between 3 to 9 percent more weight than people in a lifestyle program who do not take medication. Research shows that some people taking prescription weight loss medications even lose more than 10 percent more weight. However, results will always vary from person to person.
If you are overweight, a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your starting body weight may already improve your health by lowering blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Losing weight also can improve some other health problems related to overweight and obesity, such as joint pain or sleep apnea.
Are there any concerns with using weight loss medication?
Experts are concerned that, in some cases, the side effects of prescription medications to treat overweight and obesity may outweigh the benefits. A doctor will always weigh the benefits of medicine treatment against any risks. It goes without saying that the health benefits of weight loss should outweigh the side effects.
Possible side effects vary by medication and how it acts on your body. Most side effects are mild and most often improve if you continue to take the medication. In rare cases, serious side effects can occur.
How do I start taking weight loss medication?
Choosing a medication to treat overweight or obesity should always be done in consultation with your doctor. Together, you determine what medicine is right for you.
Important factors to consider include:
- The advantages and disadvantages of the medication.
- The medication’s possible side effects.
- Possible interactions between the weight loss medication and medicine(s) you are already taking.
- Your family’s medical history.
- Cost of the medication.
Can a weight loss medication be taken on its own to lose weight?
No, weight loss medications are not meant to be taken on their own as a miracle weight loss cure. Studies show that weight-loss medications work best when combined with a lifestyle program. So, it is very important to also adjust your lifestyle and eating habits. Your doctor or a dietician can advise you on appropriate food choices (i.e. a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables). In addition, you should get plenty of exercises. Being active not only helps to lose weight, but it also increases your energy and reduces the risk of diseases.