Weight Loss and Management with Medication: Does it Work?Regular exercise, along with eating a balanced diet, remains the safest and healthiest way to lose weight. Many have successfully reached their body goals through this, but it is also not enough for some people. There are instances where weight-loss or anti-obesity medications are needed to help control appetite and cravings.

What are weight-loss medications? 

Weight-loss medications are prescription drugs that can treat overweight and obesity. Most of them work by reducing appetite, controlling food cravings, or making It difficult for the body to absorb fat. Others, meanwhile, increase the feeling of fullness, which can then cause you to eat less. They can be in the form of a pill or (given by) injection. 

Prescription weight-loss drugs are not the same as over-the-counter (OTC) pills and supplements. The former are FDA- and Singapore HSA-approved while the latter are unregulated and may not work as advertised. Prescription medications, furthermore, are usually prescribed by physicians when diet and exercise alone don’t work.

Who can take prescription weight-loss medicines?

Prescription weight-loss drugs are not for everyone. Only those who are obese and weigh 20% or more above their ideal weight can take these medications. Your healthcare provider can determine if these medicines might benefit you or not.

According to guidelines, weight-loss drugs might be right for you if:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher
  • Your BMI is higher than 27 and you have health conditions related to obesity (like diabetes or high blood pressure)

Do weight-loss medications work?

Not all prescription weight-loss medicines are created equal. Most are approved for short-term use, usually no more than 12 weeks, while some can be used longer. It is suggested that combining prescription drugs with positive lifestyle changes can promote better weight loss than changing habits alone. 

These medicines can help you get started on your weight loss journey. Do take note, however, that you still need to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to lose weight and keep it off. You also need to maintain these habits even after you stop taking the medication. This is because losing weight and maintaining it is a lifelong journey.

Which weight-loss medication should you use?

If you need to lose weight and believe that you can benefit from weight-loss medications, it is best to consult your doctor. Before prescribing a weight-loss drug, s/he can offer healthy eating tips, or create a low-calorie diet plan or an exercise regimen that will help you shed extra kilos.

There are several weight-loss drugs approved by the US FDA and Singapore HSA. One of these is Saxenda (also called liraglutide), an injectable prescription medication. It works by making you feel less hungry or full sooner. It can help you manage your weight, so you can lower your daily calorie intake.

Saxenda mimics a synthetic version of a hormone found in your body called glucagon-like-peptide (GLP-1). This affects your appetite, food intake, and hunger. As the medication tells your brain that you’re not hungry, you can then reduce your appetite, allowing you to eat less and stick to a low-calorie diet plan. 

Are weight-loss medications safe?

Compared to unregulated pills, supplements, and fad diets, weight-loss medications like Saxenda and others can lead to a healthy weight loss. Just do take note that these drugs have effects like diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, and low blood sugar. It is best to ask your doctor about these medications and other serious side effects.

You will also need to take the medication for a certain period of time. If it helps you lose enough weight without serious side effects, your doctor may advise you to continue taking it. If you, however, haven’t lost enough weight after 12 weeks or more, your doctor may prescribe another weight-loss drug. 

The bottom line

There are no magic pills for weight loss. Saxenda and other medications, however, are beneficial in helping you make positive life changes to shed weight and improve your health. 

Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics and schedule a consultation with our doctor to learn more about Saxenda weight management or to find out if it is right for you.