Weight Loss Drugs: Effectiveness and Side Effects
Eating less and moving more are the basics of sustained weight loss. For some people, prescription weight loss medications can help.
You need to focus on diet and exercise while taking these medications, and they’re not for everyone.
Doctors generally only prescribe them if your BMI is 30 or greater, or if it’s at least 27, and you have a condition that may be related to your weight, such as:
B. type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.The drug Semaglutide (Wegovy) received FDA approval in 2021 to treat obesity. Alli, Xenical), phentermine (Adipex-P, Ionamin, Pro-Fast), and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia).
Before you are prescribed any weight loss medication, tell your doctor about your medical history. This includes any allergies or other medical conditions you have; medications or supplements you are taking (even if they are herbal or natural); and if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant.
Weight loss drug: Liraglutide (Saxenda)
How it works: Liraglutide is a higher dose of the type 2 diabetes drug Victoza. It mimics a gut hormone that tells the brain that your stomach is full.
Approved for long-term use? Yes,
weight loss Side Effects:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and low blood pressure.
Serious side effects can include increased heart rate, inflammation of the pancreas, gallbladder disease, kidney problems, and suicidal thoughts.
Studies have shown that liraglutide causes thyroid tumors in animals, but it’s not yet known whether it can cause thyroid cancer in animals. people.
Also, you should know that if you don’t lose 4% of your weight after 16 weeks of taking liraglutide, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it as it’s unlikely to work for you, they say FDA.
Weight loss drug: Naltrexone HCl and Bupropion (Contrave)
How it works: Contrave is a combination of two FDA-approved drugs, naltrexone and bupropion, in an extended-release formulation.
Naltrexone is approved for the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependence. Mood Disorder and Helping People Quit Smoking.
Related Approved for long-term use? Yes
weight loss Side Effects:
The most common side effects are nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia and dry mouth.
Contrave has a boxed warning about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with bupropion.
The alert also notes that serious neuropsychiatric problems have been reported with bupropion. Contrave can cause seizures and should not be used in patients who have seizures.
The drug can also increase your blood pressure and heart rate.
What else you should know: If you don’t lose 5% of your weight after 12 weeks of taking Contrave, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it because it’s unlikely to work for you, according to the FDA .
Weight loss drug: Orlistat (Xenical)
Side effects include abdominal cramps, bloating, oily stools, increased bowel movements, and inability to control bowel movements. These side effects are usually mild and temporary. However, they can get worse if you eat high-fat foods.
Rare cases of severe liver damage have been reported in people taking orlistat, but it is not certain that the drug caused these problems.
What else you should know: You must be on a low-fat diet (less than 30% of your calories per day from fat) before taking orlistat.
Also, take a multivitamin at least 2 hours before or after taking orlistat, as the drug temporarily makes it harder for your body to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Orlistat is the only drug of its kind to be approved in the U. All other prescription weight loss drugs reduce appetite, including the following.
Weight loss drug: Phentermine
How it works: Suppresses appetite. Your doctor may prescribe it under names like Adipex or Suprenza. Approved for long-term use?
No.It is only approved for short-term use (a few weeks). Trouble doing activities you could do. Less serious side effects include dry mouth, unpleasant taste, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. As with other appetite suppressants, there is a risk of becoming dependent on the drug.
Do not take late at night as this can cause insomnia. If you use insulin for diabetes, tell your doctor before taking phentermine as your insulin dose may need to be adjusted.
You should not take phentermine if you have heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, or uncontrolled high blood pressure.
You should also not take it if you have glaucoma, an overactive thyroid, or a history of substance abuse, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What else you should know: Phentermine is an amphetamine. Because of the risk of addiction or abuse, these stimulants are “controlled substances,” meaning they require a special type of prescription.
Phentermine and Topiramate (Qsymia)
Mode of Action: Decreases appetite.
Qsymia combines phentermine with topiramate, a drug used to treat seizures and migraines.
Topiramate causes weight loss in several ways, including by helping you feel full, making food taste less appealing, and burning more calories.
Approved for continuous use? Yes,
Qsymia contains much lower levels of phentermine and topiramate than when these drugs are administered alone.
weight loss Side Effects
The most common side effects are tingling in hands and feet, dizziness, altered sense of taste, insomnia, constipation and dry mouth.
Serious side effects include certain birth defects (cleft lip and palate), increased heart rate, suicidal thoughts or actions, and eye problems which, if left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss.
Women who could become pregnant should have a pregnancy test before taking Qsymia and use contraception and have monthly pregnancy tests while taking the drug.
You should also not take Qsymia if you have glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, or stroke.
Have your heart checked regularly when you start taking the drug or increase the dose.
Another thing you should know is that if you do not lose at least 3% of your weight after 12 weeks of Qsymia, the FDA recommends that you stop taking it or have your doctor increase your dose for the next 12 weeks. and if that doesn’t work, you should discontinue use gradually.
How it works: Semaglutide mimics a gut hormone that stimulates insulin production, reduces appetite, and induces a feeling of satiety.
Semaglutide was originally approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and is prescribed for that use under the names Ozempic and Rybelsus.
Like Wegovy, it is specifically designed to treat obesity. Approved for long-term use?Yes.
Side effects include abdominal cramps, constipation, vomiting, bloating, headache, fatigue, and gastroesophageal reflux.
These side effects are generally mild and temporary. Kidney problems and blurred vision have occurred in rare cases. Semaglutide has been associated with cases of disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
Get medical help right away if you develop symptoms of pancreatitis including:
severe stomach/abdominal pain, and nausea/vomiting that won’t go away.
What else you should know:
There is some evidence that you need to take semaglutide for life.
Stopping it could result in you regaining most of the weight you lost. You should also follow a low-calorie diet and exercise program.