06/17/2022   Chris Preston

Weight Loss Medications (Anti Obesity Medications)

What are Weight Loss Medications?

Weight loss medications, sometimes also known as weight loss drugs or anti-obesity medications, are prescription drugs that reduce your appetite and food cravings. Over the past several years, the FDA has approved a number of anti-obesity medications that help control appetite and food cravings

Because weight loss drugs make you less hungry, they also reduce the number of calories your body takes in each day. Over time, eating fewer calories will make you lose weight.

Some anti-obesity medications also help decrease cravings and control compulsive eating, particularly for sweets and fatty, salty, high-calorie foods.

Weight Loss Medications

What do Doctors Prescribe for Weight Loss?

FDA-approved weight loss medications include:

  • Phentermine (Adipex, Lomaira) - Phentermine is a pill that you take through the mouth. It is a stimulant that has similar effects to amphetamines. It is an appetite suppressant and has been on the market since the 1970s.
  • Lorcaserin (Belviq) - Lorcaserin (also known as Belviq) is a weight loss pill that was approved by the FDA in 2012. It works by selectively targeting hunger receptors in your brain that researchers believe help you feel fuller, and therefore help you eat less.
  • Phentermine/topiramate ER (Qsymia) - Topiramate/topomax is a pill that helps manage binge eating and promotes weight loss. Topiramate is an anticonvulsant drug, which means that it belongs to a class of drugs that help treat seizures. You should take a small dose of this medicine. Some people also use them to prevent migraines.
  • Naltrexone/buproprion HCL (Contrave) - Contrave (also known as naltrexone HCL or bupropion HCL) is made up of two medications: naltrexone HCL and bupropion HCL. Naltrexone HCL is used to treat opiate addiction, while bupropion HCL is used to treat depression. Both of these medicines work together to decrease your appetite and control some cravings.
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)
    • Victoza (also known as Liraglutide) is injected into your skin. When taken at a certain dosage, it helps decrease your appetite and control some food cravings. It also decreases blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes.
    • Saxenda (also known as Liraglutide) is an injection that helps people lose weight by lowering appetite and controlling food cravings. It uses the same active ingredient as Victoza, but you must not use these two medicines together.

Weight Loss

I am Over 65. Can I Take Weight Loss Medications?

Your doctor might prescribe weight loss medications to you if you are between the ages of 18—64. But there is no evidence that weight loss medications work in adults over the age of 65.

How much Weight will I Lose?

Combining weight loss medications with diet and exercise, most people lose 7.5—22 pounds more than with diet and exercise alone.

Health Benefits of Losing Weight

There are also positive health benefits associated with losing weight. Losing just five to ten percent of your body weight will lower your:

  • Blood pressure,
  • Glucose (blood sugar).
  • Lipid levels (fats), and

Losing five to ten percent of your body weight is a good starting goal for many patients.

Here are some facts on weight loss and health:

  • Losing just three to five percent of your body weight will lower your chances of getting heart disease.
  • High blood pressure is twice as common for obese adults than adults who are not obese.
  • For every two pounds you gain, your chances of developing arthritis go up by nine to thirteen percent.
  • For every two pounds you gain, this puts another four pounds of pressure on your knees. Being overweight increases your risk of having knee pain.
  • Older adults who are obese have lower muscle mass. This means they are more likely to fall and fracture bones.
  • People who are overweight have higher odds of dying or having severe complications during surgery.

How Quickly Do Weight Loss Medications Work?

Most people who take weight loss medications lose an average of one to two pounds per week. Of course, weight loss medications work best when you combine them with other healthy lifestyle changes such as eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise.

Most patients begin to lose weight within weeks. But if you cannot lose more than five percent of your body weight within twelve weeks, your doctor might stop prescribing these drugs and develop a different treatment plan for you.

Should I Combine Weight Loss Medications with Exercise?

Weight loss medications work best when you combine them with lifestyle changes such as choosing healthier foods, eating fewer calories, and exercising regularly.

You will have to combine weight loss drugs with lifestyle changes if:

  • Your BMI (body mass index) is more than 30kg/m2, or
  • Your BMI is more than 27kg/m2 and you have a chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension).

How Long Will I Need to Take Medication?

Depending on your health and weight loss goals, you might need to take weight loss medications for years. As obesity is a chronic disease, the FDA has approved these drugs for long-term use.

Anti Obesity Medications

Side Effects

Before you are prescribed any anti-obesity medications, your doctor will ask for your entire medical history, including any:

  • Diseases you have;
  • What medications do you take now; and
  • What medications did you take in the past?

Your doctor will work with you carefully to make sure it is safe for you to take weight loss medications along with any other medications you take.

Diabetes Medications & Weight Loss

Newer diabetes medications could also help people with diabetes lose weight. These medications work by controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels inside the body, which in turn helps people feel less hungry and fuller.

These medications are known as GLP1-agonists. They include:

  • Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda),
  • Lixisenatide (Lyxumia),
  • Albiglutide (Tanzeum),
  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity),
  • Semaglutide (Ozempic), and
  • Exenatide (Bydureon).

  • Prescription Weight Loss Medications

    Another type of diabetes medication known as SLT2-inhibitors helps people lose weight. These include:

    • Dapagliflozin (Farxiga),
    • Empagliflozin (Jardiance), and
    • Canagliflozin (Invokana).

    If you or anyone you know is suffering from obesity, our expert providers at Vegas Health will take care of your health and help you recover.

    Call us at (701)-551-5212 to book an appointment with our specialists.