Obesity is a chronic disease that affects many people. To lose weight in the long term, a person must modify their diet and engage in regular physical exercise. However, some people may require additional treatment, which is why weight loss drugs are sometimes used. Prescription weight-loss medications should be used only by patients who are at increased medical risk because of their weight. They should not be used for “cosmetic” weight loss. In addition, patients should have previously tried to lose weight through diet and physical activity. The common drugs used to lose weight work by either decreasing appetite or blocking the absorption of calories.
Common Drugs Used to Lose Weight: Over the counter medications
Diet pills, potions, and concoctions purchased over the counter or ordered on line are unlikely to be effective and are not necessarily safe or capable of delivering on what they promise.
Over-the-counter diet pills may not appear to be dangerous, but they can still cause harm. They may be loaded with caffeine and diuretics that can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
The FDA does not give supplements the same scrutiny as prescription medications. These common drugs used to lose weight can be harmful and most are ineffective.
Common Drugs Used to Lose Weight: Prescription medications
Sometimes as a last resort, physicians will prescribe prescription medications to help someone lose weight. Not all of these medications are FDA approved for weight loss, and sometimes their use can have serious side effects.
Common drugs used to lose weight are only approved for those with:
1. A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above
2. A BMI of 27 and above with an obesity related condition like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or dyslipidemia.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of weight in relation to height that helps medical professionals determine if your weight puts you at risk for an obesity related illness. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered healthy. A BMI of 25-30 is considered overweight. BMI over 30 is considered obese.
Common drugs used to lose weight should always be combined with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Here is a list of common drugs used to lose weight:
Phentermine: Phentermine is approved by the FDA for weight loss in a short-term (up to 12 weeks) capacity. It is an appetite suppressant. Common side effects include increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, insomnia, and nervousness.
Diethylproprion: Diethylproprion is also approved by the FDA for short term use in weight loss. It is an appetite suppressant, and common side effects include dizziness, headache, sleeplessness, and nervousness.
Phendimetrazine: Another FDA approved weight loss medication for short-term use. It is also an appetite suppressant and common side effects include sleeplessness and nervousness.
Orlistat: Orlistat is FDA approved for long term use (up to one year). It is a lipase, so it blocks the absorption of calories from food. Common side effects include GI issues like cramping, diarrhea, oily spotting. In rare cases , severe liver injury have been reported.
Non-FDA approved prescription medications that are sometimes prescribed for weight loss include bupropion and topiramate. When these medications are prescribed for weight loss it is considered an “off label” use of the drug.
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