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Prescription weight-loss drugs

Examine the pros and cons of medications to treat obesity.

are you an adult who has serious health problems because of your weight? Have you tried diet and exercise but haven’t been able to lose enough weight? If you answered yes to these questions, a prescription weight drug may be an option for you.

You should know, however, that prescription weight drugs are used in addition to — not instead of — diet and exercise.

Who is a candidate

Your doctor may consider a weight drug for you if you haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise and you meet one of the following:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30.
  • Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Before selecting a medicine for you, your doctor will consider your history and health challenges. Then your doctor will talk with you about the pros and cons of prescription  drugs.

It’s important to note that weight-loss drugs aren’t for everyone. For example, prescription  drugs shouldn’t be used if you’re trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or are breast-feeding.

How well do weight-loss drugs work?

Prescription weight-loss drugs approved for long-term use (more than 12 weeks) produce significant weight loss compared with placebo. The combination of weight-loss medication and lifestyle changes results in greater weight loss than lifestyle changes do alone.

Over the course of a year, that can mean a weight loss of 3% to 7% of total body weight above that achieved with lifestyle changes alone. That may seem like a modest amount. But a sustained weight loss of 5% to 10% can have important health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

What you should know about weight drugs

Mild side effects, such as nausea, constipation or diarrhea, are common. They may lessen over time. Rarely, serious side effects can occur. For this reason, it’s important to thoroughly discuss treatment options with your doctor.

this drugs can be expensive and aren’t always paid for by insurance. Ask your insurance company about coverage.

Many people gain back some of the weight they lost when they stop taking weight-loss drugs. However, adopting healthy lifestyle habits may help limit weight gain.

How long does drug therapy last?

How long you’ll take the drug depends on if the drug helps you lose weight. If you’ve lost enough weight to improve your health and you haven’t had serious side effects, your doctor may suggest that you take the drug indefinitely.

If you haven’t lost at least 5% of your body weight after three to six months on the full dose of a drug, your doctor will probably change your treatment and may switch you to a different drug.

 

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