By: Ashley Gesiewski
Published: December 31, 2019
How Prescription Weight Loss Medications Can Help Shed Stubborn Pounds
Did you know that a third of Americans are considered overweight? For many primary care physicians, obesity is becoming more and more prevalent. Anyone can diet and lose weight, but changing your lifestyle is the key to maintaining a healthier weight.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that more than two-thirds of adults and almost a third of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Obesity is defined as someone who has a BMI>30 and overweight for individuals with a BMI>27.
There are two main ways to control your weight; daily physical activity and healthy eating habits. If these lifestyle changes are not enough to help you lose weight, your doctor may prescribe medications as part of a weight-control plan.
More than 15% of adults have said they’ve taken a weight loss substance at some point in their lives with the majority not being FDA controlled. These substances can have serious short-term and long-term consequences. For example, the FDA found weight-loss products tainted with a substance called sibutramine, a prescription drug ingredient that caused heart problems and strokes. Most recently other marketed non-FDA approved weight-loss products contained fluoxetine, an active ingredient found in Prozac, which is used to treat depression and other conditions. Prescription weight loss medications from a physician; however, are FDA regulated and safe when used under the guidance of a physician.
Research shows that most patients taking prescription weight-loss medications lose 10 percent or more of their starting weight, but results may vary depending on the medication and by the patient. On average, people who take prescription weight-loss medications in addition to changing personal habits lose between three to nine percent more of their starting body weight than people who are not using a weight-loss medication.
Medications for treating overweight and obese individuals depend on your medical insurance, and other medical conditions. For example, some medications may help you feel less hungry, while some work to make you full sooner. Your doctor will recommend a medication that is best suited to your treatment plan.
Even a five percent weight reduction can change your life and prevent or decrease the severity of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, insulin resistance, sleep apnea, and arthritic pain. Weight reduction in obese and overweight patients has been repeatedly proven to decrease disability and mortality. Losing weight can also improve sleep apnea or joint pain.
Most people who begin the weight loss journey will see results within the first 6 months of taking medication. It is important to keep in mind that medications do not replace physical activity or healthy eating habits. Studies show that weight-loss medications work best when combined with a lifestyle program and these methods utilized together are the best long-term solutions to obesity.