Prescription medications for weight lossDr Daiva helps you make informed choices about your different medications available

When weight loss medications are used

Weight loss medications may be used when patients need short-term weight loss and lifestyle efforts on their own have not been enough to achieve their weight loss goals.

Medications are considered for patients who:

  • Have a BMI of 27 or above and have at least one of the chronic diseases, like (pre)diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea or BMI of 30 and above.
  • Need assistance to reduce hunger or emotional food addiction.
  • Need extra support after bariatric surgery to achieve your final weight loss goal and prevent weight regain.

How weight loss medications work

Weight loss prescription medications work in different ways.

Some may help you feel less hungry or full sooner. Others may make it harder for your body to absorb fat from the foods you eat.

Types of weight loss medications

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a new medication, which was approved in Australia in June 2020 (2017 in USA). This is a once-weekly injection for patients with Type 2 diabetes, which helps them to lose weight and improve blood glucose level, along with diet and exercise. It also reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. In a recent study with 1961 participants who were not diabetics, the weight loss achieved was between 5% and 14.9% of the total body mass in 68 weeks.

This medication works in two ways. It slows the passage of food through the gut making a person feel fuller and satisfied. It also works directly on the appetite centre of the brain to reduce hunger and cravings.

Saxenda® (Liraglutide) 3 mg is a daily injectable prescription medicine used for:

  • Adults with BMI ≥27, who also have weight-related medical problems.
  • Obese adults with BMI ≥ 30.

Saxenda® should be used with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Orlistat inhibits the lipase enzyme in the bowel lumen. This process reduces the fat absorption by approximately 30%. The undigested fat then passes out of your body with your bowel motions. Thus the decreased absorption of calories from fat eventually leads to weight loss.

However, Orlistat does not block the absorption of calories from sugar and other non-fatty foods, so you will still need to restrict your total calorie intake.

This is a combination of two medications that stop patients craving food. These work on the reward and appetite centres in the brain to stop hunger cravings.

This is a mild stimulant medication that supresses the appetite and blocks the natural hunger cravings.

Our approach to prescribing weight loss medications

  • A considered approach. Dr Daiva may consider a weight loss medication for you if you haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise on its own, your BMI is greater than 27 or above and you have serious medical problems, related to obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or your BMI is greater than 30.
  • Compliments diet and exercise. Prescription weight loss medications are prescribed in addition to, but not instead of diet and exercise regimes.
  • Detailed explanation. Before selecting a medication for you, Dr Daiva will discuss your medical, weight loss history, health challenges and will talk about the pros and cons of all prescription weight loss medications.
  • Right for you. It is important to know that weight loss medications are not for everyone. It should not be used if you are trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding, taking particular medications or have a family history of certain medical conditions.
  • Ultimately lifestyle is key. Weight loss medications are not an easy solution to weight loss, but they may help you make the necessary lifestyle changes to lose weight and improve your health.

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