Pharmacological Treatment

What are the Options For Weight Loss Medication?

Overweight and obesity are recognized as chronic medical conditions.  As such, they often 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 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. Zepbound (Tirzepatide)
  2. Saxenda (Liraglutide)
  3. Wegovy (Semaglutide)
  4. Qsymia (Phentermine/Topamax)
  5. Contrave (Naltrexone/Wellbutrin)
  6. Alli (Orlistat)
  7. 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 20% or more, depending on their particular situation.

As mentioned before, specific recommendations for which weight loss medication to use is determined by your medical evaluation and insurance coverage/cost considerations. 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.

Could you be part of the 10% of people who are non-responders or is the cost of staying on an injectable medication weighing you down? Check out Dr. Mittal's video about injectable weight loss medications and how we manage side effects, optimize results and work to find alternatives.

GLP-1 medications like semaglutide and tirzepatide (Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy & Zepbound) are popular weight loss medications- with national shortages and in studies 10% of people being non-responders as well as for those having undesirable side effects or cost burdens, it is useful to know that as a board-certified Obesity Medicine specialist, we have other anti-obesity medication options! We work with you to offer treatments for weight and for maintenance of weight loss. Along with intensive lifestyle coaching, our practice Radiant Health offers the full spectrum of treatment options!