If you spend enough time on the internet, there is a high chance that you have come across adverts of pills, supplements, and vitamins promising to help you lose weight without any effort.
Despite the growing number of these medications, only five drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help you shed some weight. Being prescription drugs, not everybody qualifies for getting weight loss prescription pills.
Who Can Get a Weight-Loss Drug?
While weight loss drugs may seem like an easy way to lose weight, not everyone can get prescription weight loss drug.
- Individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30.
- Individuals with a BMI greater than 27 and have a medical condition related to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Individuals who have not been able to lose weight after dieting and exercising.
Who Should Not Take Weight Loss Drugs?
Even if your BMI or health condition requires a weight loss pill, you may not get them if you fall into the following category;
- Women who are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant soon, or breastfeeding mothers.
- Individuals younger than 18 (Except Alli – a low dosage of Orlistat UK; the only FDA-approved drug for children 12 and older).
- Anybody who has malabsorption syndrome (irregular digestion).
- Anybody who has cholestasis.
- Anybody on another medication that would interact with a weight loss drug. Some of these weight loss drugs can also interfere with the absorption of various medicines and vitamins and affect the way that they work.
For this reason, before you get a weight loss medication, it is vital that your doctor knows your health history, medications you are currently on. This will help the doctor give you a weight loss drug with minimum drug interactions and side-effects. So, which weight loss pill is available?
Liraglutide is an antidiabetic drug (it is also known as GLP-1 hormone agonist). This medication is available as Saxena and Victoza and is available only as an injection which is administered through the stomach, thigh, or upper arm.
Liraglutide works by slowing down the rate at which food leaves the stomach. It also helps prevent your liver from producing too much sugar and aids the pancreas in the production of more insulin when the level of sugar in your blood is high.
Lorcaserin belongs to a group of drugs known as serotonin receptor agonists. Lorcaserin affects the part of the brain that helps control your appetite. When taken, this medication acts on the serotonin receptors in your brain, thus, making you feel full after eating an amount of food smaller than your usual quantity. This makes you eat less leading to less accumulation of fat.
This is a typical combination of drugs prescribed to individuals who need to lose weight. Naltrexone (an opiate antagonist) and bupropion (an antidepressant). When taken together, this medication will work together on separate parts of the brain to reduce appetite and how much you eat.
To increase your chances of losing weight, take this medication along with a low-fat meal (or as directed by your doctor) usually twice daily. This medication should not be taken too close to bedtime as it can cause sleeping troubles.
Orlistat is one of the first names that would pop up when a person sources for weight loss medications. It is available under different trade names including Alli, Xenical, and XLS Medical.
Alli (which contains a lower dose of Orlistat) is the only FDA-approved medication for weight loss that can be prescribed for adults and children over the age of 12.
This medication stops these enzymes that break down fat in the stomach from working. This drug will reduce by up to 40 percent (depending on the brand) the amount of fat absorbed by the body. The unabsorbed fat will pass directly through your digestive system, and out of your body in stools.
This medication is a combination of two drugs used for weight-loss. It is available as Qysmia. Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, while bupropion is an antidepressant. This medication will work together on separate parts of the brain to reduce appetite and how much you eat.
Qysmia works better when taken along with a low-fat meal (or as directed by your doctor) usually twice daily. If you do not lose a significant amount of weight after 12 weeks of taking this medication, your doctor may ask you to stop and prescribe another for you.
Nausea, constipation, a headache, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, and a dry mouth are pervasive side effects of this medication. Take this medication only when prescribed by a doctor as it is known to have some worrying side effects.
The above-stated medications are approved for the treatment of obesity or to aid weight loss on a long-term basis while this group has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of obesity or to support weight loss on a short-term basis (up to 12 weeks)
The short-term medications currently available are phentermine, benzphetamine, diethylpropion, and phendimetrazine. These drugs help you lose weight by increasing the chemicals in your brain that make you feel full.
Are Weight Loss Drugs Worth It?
Depending on the medication prescribed, you may need to spend between $50 and $200 monthly to get your medicine to lose weight. So, is paying this amount every month really worth it?
Weight loss drugs work to a varying extent, some people on prescription weight-loss drugs can lose up to 10 percent or more of their starting weight. While this is great, there are other things you can do to increase your chances of losing more weight during the same period.
Weight loss drugs may seem an easy answer to losing weight. However, it is not the most effective on its own. Records show that people who take prescription medications along with a lifestyle program which may include dieting and exercising lose between 3 and 9 percent more body weight than people who rely only on medication.