In the past decade, there has been much attention given to the relationship between obesity and health complications. We are made aware that we need to maintain a healthy weight and get regular exercise in order to avoid health risks that come with obesity. Bu, for those who are obese and just cannot seem to lose weight without assistance from a physician, there are medications that can help. These top 5 FDA approved weight loss medications (“diet pills”) have some benefits and some risks. Only a doctor should help with deciding how to treat obesity with prescription drugs.
The medical community recognizes obesity as a disease and is now ready to aggressively treat this life-threatening disease with lifestyle changes combined with medications, when necessary
Weight loss medication should never be considered for lifelong use. There are too many risks involved in long term use. Medications are to be used in conjunction with diet and lifestyle changes. Exercise is a component of all weight loss plans. Your doctor may try to assist you with a diet and exercise plan first and will review your progress periodically. If diet and exercise does not work, then medication might be added to help remove those life threatening excess pounds.
Belviq targets the hunger receptors in the brain, which causes patients to eat less and still be satisfied. It is one of the first FDA approved medications to treat obesity. Belviq works best with lifestyle changes such as exercise combined with a reduced-calorie diet. Belviq is prescribed for patients who are obese and have at least one related health condition such as hypertension or type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that patients taking Belviq lost 5% more weight than those that did not take any medication. Both groups made lifestyle changes that included diet and exercise.
Belviq has risks and side effects, some of which can be life-threatening. Some of these are valvular heart disease, depression or thoughts of suicide and decreases in white and red blood cell counts.
Belviq should not be taken by pregnant or lactating women, or those who plan to become pregnant.
It is unknown at this time whether or not taking over the counter weight loss products can be dangerous when taking Belviq.
Qsymia is a medication that includes phentermine and topiramate ER and, like Belviq, is a medication that is prescribed for obese patients who have other health conditions. Treatment also includes lifestyle changes such as increased exercise along with reduced calorie diets. Qysmia works on all the hunger receptor pathways.
Patient studies show that persons taking Qysmia lost 5% more weight than those taking placebos. Qysmia, like Belviq, can have serious side effects and should not be taken by lactating or pregnant women and pregnancy should not be initiated while taking Qysmia. Females must have a negative pregnancy test before beginning this medication and every month thereafter while taking Qysmia.
As with Belviq, it is unknown whether or not taking Qysmia in addition to other over the counter or prescribed weight loss products can be dangerous.
Phentermine is similar to an amphetamine and it stimulates the hypothalamus gland, which decreases appetite. Changes in eating habits and lifestyle are required to maintain the weight loss once the patient is no longer taking Phentermine.
Phentermine is prescribed only for three months because the medication wears off but the side effects remain. This is why it is so important to be aggressive when making lifestyle and diet changes while on the medication.
There is an over the counter medication developed by the makers of Phentermine called Phen Caps. This product can be used to maintain weight loss after ceasing Phentermine. It is available legally without a prescription, like many other popular fat burners on the market. This product contains phenylalamine and herbal ingredients.
Phentermine does have side effects similar to the other medications in this article, so care should be used when taking this medication and it should always be taken under the supervision of a doctor.
Xenical is a product that blocks fats that you eat. Studies claim that people taking Xenical lose 68% more weight than those that are using diet and exercise alone. This product has been used with great success in New Zealand.
To get Xenical, you do not need to see a doctor. According to all the research, you simply see a pharmacist who is trained in the use of Xenical and he/she will measure your Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine how much of the product you should take. To calculate your BMI, simply divide your weight by your height (in kg and m2).
Side effects include oily stool, abdominal pain, urgent need to use a bathroom and low blood glucose.
Meridia has been removed from the market by the FDA. It was one of the more popular fat burning pills, until it was pulled from the shelves.
The reasons are that it can increase the chance of heart attacks and does not offer as great of a benefit as the other pills listed above.
Finally, there are also many natural appetite suppressants you can also add in your diet – a good list can be found here.
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