Pharmacological Treatment

What are the Options For Weight Loss Medication?

Overweight and obesity are now recognized as chronic medical conditions.  As such, they require life-long treatment. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, treating complications of weight, as well as treating medical conditions that cause weight gain, we also need to address excess weight itself. 

The processes that go on in our bodies and in the brain, that determine what weight (or “set point”) our bodies maintain is quite complex.  Also, once a person has gained excess weight, it can be much harder to work against the hormones and other chemical processes in the body that are trying to keep the person’s weight at the “set point”.

Often, people need additional tools, like weight loss medications, to get to a healthy weight and also to maintain the weight they have lost.

There are several medications that are now approved by the FDA for weight management, and more are being developed as we speak.  Each weight loss medication works in a different way to help you lose weight.

In her practice, Dr. Mittal customizes the treatment plan based on your metabolic condition, medical history, factors like side effect profile, cost, and her patients’ wishes.  Nutritional counseling, behavioral counseling and health coaching are provided as well.

Often, one medication may work for a time and then stop working.  This is why you are closely monitored under Dr. Mittal’s care, as often medication dose adjustment, alteration in diet, or additional weight loss medication is needed to treat the weight by a different pathway or mechanism.

The medications approved by the FDA for weight loss are:

  1. Saxenda (Liraglutide)
  2. Qsymia (Phentermine/Topamax)
  3. Contrave (Naltrexone/Wellbutrin)
  4. Belviq (Lorcaserin)
  5. Alli (Orlistat)
  6. Phentermine/diethylpropion

On average, people who take prescription weight loss medications as part of a lifestyle program, lose between 3-9 % more of their starting body weight than those who in a lifestyle program alone. Some people lose 10% or more, depending on their particular situation.

As mentioned before, specific recommendations for which weight loss medication to use is determined by your particular condition. Of note, it is also important to review your other prescriptions as some could be contributing to weight gain or might interact with these medications. Last, as you lose weight, it is important to be closely monitored from a medical standpoint, as people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in particular, require dose adjustments to avoid low blood sugar or low blood pressure.

Click here for more information on the use of weight loss medications.