What are the Different Types of Weight Loss Medications?
With the problem of obesity increasing so fast in the country, people have resulted in other ways of losing weight like weight loss surgeries and obese medications. People who are seeking these medications and weight loss surgeries are those whose BMI is 35 and above. However, this article is going to dig deeper into some of the many weight loss medications available, how they work, who is eligible, their benefits and the risks associated with taking them.
This type of medication comes in two different brand names; Saxenda and Byetta, which are primarily designed to treat type 2 diabetes since they both contain a class of glucagon-like peptide known as GLP1. Saxenda works perfectly well and has some significant weight loss on people who take it. Research done showed that 49% of participants who were struggling with overweight lost up to 5% of their weight, compared to 16% treated with placebo.
Some of its side effects include; low blood sugar because of low appetite, vomiting, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea with some serious but rare side effects being kidney and pancreas problems. The market price of Saxenda goes at about $1232. Byetta delays stomach emptying and enhances satiety. The only drawback of Byetta is that it must be injected twice a day and it is only for use by people with type 2 diabetes.
This drug helps in weight reduction by inhibiting fat intake. It suppresses the functioning of the enzyme that is responsible for the digestion of fats, called pancreatic lipase. It causes a great reduction in weight since fats are the main reason people become obese. Orlistat is known to reduce fats and calories digestion by about 30%. It exists under brand names Alli (Orlistat 60mg) and Xenical (Orlistat 120mg) that come at a market price of about $120 to $500 per month. In the year 2010, the FDA warned of possible liver damage by the drug and was as a result forced to include this information on the label.
- Phentermine and Topiramate
This drug is a combination of two drugs that are very effective and approved by the FDA – Phentermine and Topiramate. Phentermine is known to reduce weight in short term basis while Topiramate, although it is primarily designed to treat epilepsy and migraines is known for triggering satiety, a feeling of fullness in the stomach so that you do not take much food. It exists under a brand name Qysmia, which costs you in excess of $200 per month. The main side effect of this kind of drug is that it accelerates heartbeats to a point that the patient needs close monitoring, and cannot be used during pregnancy.
- Naltrexone Hydrochloride and Bupropion Hydrochloride
Bupropion is an antidepressant and anti-smoking drug and is an extended release of two medications that are approved by the FDA and was primarily designed to treat alcohol and opioids addiction. It helps in weight loss by triggering the release of dopamine that in turn helps reduce appetite and energy burned. It increases heartbeat and thus should never be used by an individual that has existing high blood pressure issues. It comes under brand name Contrave, which sells at a market price of between $55 and $200 per month.
Although weight loss medications are very effective for ensuring positive weight loss results, it is advisable to use them after exhausting all other weight loss methods such as exercise and dieting. You are also advised that you first see a doctor who should evaluate your health history and recommend the necessary medication for you since they are all not eligible for just anyone. Furthermore, you should consider combining weight loss medication and exercise for the best possible results.
Dr. Saniea F. Majid, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is our founder, director, and award-winning surgeon with more than 10 years of experience treating patients. She is the President of the New Jersey state chapter of ASMBS, a member of the Board of Directors at New Jersey Doctor-Patient Alliance, and Chair of the Post Operative Weight Recurrence Task Force (POWER). Dr. Majid has devoted her life to helping people like you lose weight and transform their lives and not only started and directed the Metabolic and Bariatric Center at Saint Michaels Medical Center but also achieved the National Center of Excellence. Dr. Majid is one of only three bariatric doctors and surgeons featured in the 2023 Healthy Living magazine published by NJ Top Docs. She is also a regular guest speaker for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) where she trains bariatric surgeons on the latest methods and techniques.