While there is no permanent cure for obesity or being overweight, prescription weight-loss drugs may help you meet your goals. If regular diet and exercise seem to be not enough, these medications may be considered in managing your weight. Your healthcare provider may prescribe weight loss medicine to reduce your appetite or help you eat less.
If you want to know more about weight-loss medications and how they can help you shed excess pounds or manage your weight, read on. Here are seven things worth knowing about weight-loss medications.
1. Weight-loss drugs work in different ways.
Also called weight-loss medications or anti-obesity medications, weight-loss drugs work by decreasing your appetite or making you feel full. They reduce the amount of calories you eat each day, which will then cause you to lose weight over time. There are also prescription weight-loss drugs that help decrease cravings or interfere with fat absorption.
In the case of liraglutide or Saxenda, approved by Singapore’s Health and Sciences Authority (HSA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it works by making you less hungry or increasing the feeling of being full. It can help you manage your weight, so you can lower your daily calorie intake.
Saxenda works by mimicking the effects of the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is known to regulate hunger. This affects not just your hunger, but also your appetite and food intake. GLP-1 drugs have been shown to lead to weight loss by promoting fullness and satiety.
2. They are not dietary pills or supplements.
Weight-loss drugs are not the same as dietary supplements or herbal remedies. They are also completely different from over-the-counter (OTC) diet and weight loss pills. While they may claim to help you lose weight, these are unregulated and are not HSA- or US FDA-approved treatments for obesity and overweight.
3. Weight-loss medications are not for everyone.
For people who are not able to lose enough weight through diet and exercise, weight-loss drugs may be an option, but they are not for everyone. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to you if your:
- Body mass index (BMI) is higher than 30
- BMI is higher than 27 and you have serious health conditions associated with obesity (like diabetes or high blood pressure)
Weight-loss drugs are not recommended for those who are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. They may also interact with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Also, they should not be taken if you have other health conditions, including heart disease, liver disease, glaucoma, and hyperthyroidism.
4. Yes, weight-loss medications work.
Weight-loss drugs do help with weight management and help jumpstart your weight-loss efforts. Some lose about one to two pounds per week, but they work best when combined with healthy habits.
You may begin to see changes within weeks, but if within 12 weeks you can’t shed more than 5% of your body weight, you may benefit from switching to another weight management plan or medication.
In the case of Saxenda, you may start to see some effects within two weeks of starting the medication. In a three-year clinical study conducted by the manufacturer, 56% of patients (out of 2,254 adults) achieved significant weight loss at year one. Also, 85% of people taking Saxenda lost some weight in a study of 3,731 patients.
5. They can be for short-term or long-term use.
Some weight-loss drugs are approved for short-term use, usually no more than 12 weeks, while others can be taken longer, as a part of a weight management plan. How long it will need to take the medication will depend on your health and weight-loss goals. Again, prescription drugs should be combined with regular exercise and a calorie-controlled diet.
6. There are side effects to taking weight-loss medications.
Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and injection site reaction. It is important to thoroughly discuss with your doctor the potential mild and serious side effects of your prescribed medication.
And if you, for instance, want to stop taking such medications, talk to your healthcare provider. This is because there may also be side effects to stopping some medications abruptly or suddenly.
It is good to know, however, that your doctor will examine your health and medical history, as well as work closely with you before prescribing weight-loss drugs. This is to make sure that it is safe for you to take your weight-loss drugs and other medications you are taking.
7. You may regain weight after stopping the medication.
As previously mentioned, there is no permanent cure for obesity. Also, weight-loss medications work best when combined with positive lifestyle changes. These include eating healthier and engaging in regular physical activity.
Stopping weight management drugs may lead to weight gain if you don’t develop or maintain healthy habits. You also have to keep in mind that obesity is a chronic disease, which is why you may need to continue healthy habits and behaviors for a long time (or a lifetime) to maintain a healthy weight.
To learn more about prescription medications or find out if Saxenda is right for you, contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore today and schedule a consultation with our Harvard-trained and US-Board Certified physician, Dr. Sylvia Ramirez.