Weight loss can be difficult for many people; sometimes, diet and exercise alone may not be enough to achieve the desired results. In such cases, prescription weight-loss drugs can be an effective option.
Yet it’s crucial to realise that these medications are not a panacea and should only be used under a doctor’s supervision. The sections below explore the various types of prescription weight-loss drugs that are available in the market.
Appetite suppressants are a type of weight-loss drug that work by reducing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness. These drugs act on the brain’s appetite control centre to decrease the desire to eat.
Some commonly prescribed appetite suppressants include phentermine, diethylpropion, and phendimetrazine.
One of the most often prescribed appetite suppressants in the U.S. is phentermine. It works by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that promote feelings of satiety. Phentermine is only approved for short-term use, usually for up to twelve weeks.
Diethylpropion and phendimetrazine are also appetite suppressants that work in a similar way to phentermine. These drugs are also approved for short-term use and are usually prescribed for up to twelve weeks.
Fat Absorption Inhibitors
Fat absorption inhibitors are a type of weight-loss drug that work by blocking the absorption of dietary fat in the digestive tract. These medications affect the lipase enzyme, which breaks down fat in the intestines.
Fat absorption inhibitors can lessen the amount of fat that the body absorbs by blocking this enzyme.
Orlistat is the only FDA-approved fat absorption inhibitor currently available in the United States. It works by blocking the absorption of up to 30 percent of dietary fat in the intestines. It has been demonstrated to be beneficial in aiding weight loss and is typically given for long-term use.
Combination drugs are a type of weight-loss drug that contain two or more active ingredients. These drugs work by targeting multiple aspects of weight loss, such as reducing appetite and increasing metabolism.
Some commonly prescribed combination drugs include phentermine/topiramate and naltrexone/bupropion.
A combined medicine called phentermine/topiramate reduces appetite and heightens feelings of fullness. Topiramate is a medication that is meant to treat seizures and migraines, but studies have shown that it can also help people lose weight.
Phentermine/topiramate has been demonstrated to be beneficial in aiding weight loss and is permitted for long-term use.
Naltrexone/bupropion is another combination drug that works by reducing appetite and increasing metabolism. Naltrexone is a drug that is used to treat opioid addiction, while bupropion is an antidepressant that has also been shown to promote weight loss.
It has been demonstrated that naltrexone/bupropion is beneficial in facilitating weight loss and is recommended for long-term use.
Side Effects and Considerations
While prescription weight-loss drugs can be effective in promoting weight loss, they also come with potential side effects and considerations. It is important to discuss these with a healthcare provider before starting any weight-loss drug.
The adverse effects of appetite suppressants can include dry mouth, constipation, and insomnia. In rare cases, they can also increase blood pressure and heart rate.
Fat absorption inhibitors can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as oily stools, flatulence, and diarrhoea. Combination drugs can cause a variety of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headache.
Another consideration when taking prescription weight-loss drugs is the potential for drug interactions. It is important to inform a healthcare provider of all medications and supplements being taken, as some drugs can interact with weight-loss drugs and increase the risk of side effects.
For those who are having trouble losing weight with food and exercise alone, prescription weight-loss medications may be a beneficial alternative. However, it’s crucial to realise that these medications should only be taken while being closely monitored by a healthcare professional.
Each type of drug works in a different way to promote weight loss, and the choice of drug will depend on the individual’s specific needs and medical history.
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