Weightloss, Weightloss Medications

Are you an adult who has serious health issues as a result of your weight? Have you tried diet and exercise but still haven’t lost enough weight? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a candidate for a prescription weight-loss medication.

Prescription drugs are medications that your doctor has prescribed for you. They cannot be purchased off the shelf in a drug store, as nonprescription medications can.

Just remember that you should use prescription weight-loss medications in addition to, not instead of, a healthy diet and exercise.

Who may use weight-loss medications?

In some circumstances, your doctor could advise you to use a medicine for weight loss. They consist of the following if you haven’t been successful in losing weight despite diet and exercise:

  • BMI (body mass index) is more than 30. This indicates that you have obesity, a condition marked by an excess of body fat.
  • More than 27 BMI. You also suffer from an obesity-related significant medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Your doctor considers your medical history and current health issues before selecting a medication for you. Then your doctor discusses the advantages and disadvantages of prescription weight-loss medications with you.

Not everyone should use these medications. For instance, if you’re attempting to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are nursing, you shouldn’t take prescription weight-loss medications.

How effective are weight-loss medications?

Long-term use of prescription weight-loss drugs results in significant weight loss when compared to an inactive treatment that does not use medicine, known as a placebo. Weight loss medication combined with lifestyle changes results in greater weight loss than lifestyle changes alone.
Taking these drugs for a year can result in a 3% to 12% greater loss of total body weight than lifestyle changes alone. That may not appear to be much. However, losing 5% to 10% of your total weight and maintaining it can have significant health benefits. It can, for example, lower blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and triglyceride levels in the blood.

What to know about weight-loss medications

Common mild side effects include nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. They might become better with time. Serious adverse effects can occasionally occur. It is crucial to question your doctor about all available treatment options for this reason. And inquire about the potential advantages and dangers of any medicine.
The cost of weight-loss medications can be high, and insurance may not always cover them. Inquire about your coverage with your insurance provider.

When they stop using weight-loss medications, many people put some of the weight they previously lost back on. Nonetheless, adopting healthy lifestyle practices may aid in preventing weight gain.

How long should use weight-loss medication?

Whether or whether a weight-loss medication works for you determines how long you should take it. Your doctor can advise you to use the medication for a long time if you have reduced enough weight to improve your health and no serious side effects.
After taking a medication at its recommended dosage for three to six months, if you haven’t dropped at least 5% of your body weight, your doctor will probably adjust your course of treatment. They might change the medication you’re taking for weight loss.

What medications have been approved for weight loss?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six weight-loss drugs for long-term use:

  • Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)
  • Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
  • Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
  • Semaglutide (Wegovy)
  • Setmelanotide (Imcivree)

The majority of prescription weight-loss medications work by making you feel less hungry or fuller. Some people do both. The exception is orlistat. It has an impact on how your body absorbs fat.


A combination drug is bupropion-naltrexone. Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction. Bupropion is both an antidepressant and a quit-smoking aid, which is a drug that helps people quit smoking. Bupropion, like all antidepressants, comes with a warning about the risk of suicide. Bupropion-naltrexone can cause an increase in blood pressure. As a result, at the start of treatment, your provider will need to check your blood pressure on a regular basis. Nausea, headache, and constipation are all common side effects.


Liraglutide is also used to treat diabetes. It is administered on a daily basis. A common complaint is nausea. Its use may be limited if you vomit.


Orlistat can also be obtained without a prescription in a reduced-strength form (Alli). Side effects of orlistat include passing gas and having loose stools. When taking this medication, you must eat a low-fat diet. In rare cases, people have had serious liver injury with orlistat. However, researchers have not discovered that the drug causes liver damage.


Phentermine-topiramate is a combination of phentermine, a weight-loss medication, and topiramate, an anticonvulsant. Because it acts like a stimulant drug called an amphetamine, phentermine has the potential to be abused. An increase in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as insomnia, constipation, and nervousness, are all possible side effects. Topiramate raises the likelihood of birth defects.

Phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira) is also used to lose weight on its own. It’s one of four similar weight-loss drugs that have been approved for use for less than 12 weeks, a term known as short-term use. The other drugs in this class are rarely prescribed.


Semaglutide is also used to help manage type 2 diabetes. You take it as a weekly shot to manage obesity.

It can have the following side effects:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Headache
  • Tiredness


The FDA has only approved setmelanotide for people aged 6 and up who are obese due to one of the following rare inherited conditions:

  • Deficiency of pro-opiomelanocortin
  • Type 1 proprotein subtilisin-kexin deficiency
  • Lack of leptin receptors

To use the medication, you must have test results proving that you have one of these conditions. Setmelanotide does not address any of the genetic issues that contribute to these conditions. But it can help you lose weight. It has the ability to suppress your appetite and make you feel fuller. It may also assist you in burning calories while your body is at rest.

Setmelanotide is administered to you on a daily basis. It can have the following side effects:

  • Skin that is swollen or irritated where the needle was inserted
  • Darker skin patches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Unwanted sexual responses
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation

Setmelanotide should never be given to a child under the age of six. It can cause dangerous reactions in newborns and babies.

The conclusion

Drugs for weight loss are not a simple solution. But they might assist you in implementing the lifestyle modifications you need to make in order to reduce your weight and enhance your health.


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