New weight loss drugs continue to be approved every day, and the debate on whether to use them or not continues to intensify. Although eating less and moving more are the common methods of losing weight, prescription weight loss drugs can also assist. They can help you reduce about ten percent of your excess weight, but they would be much more effective when used along with diet and exercise. Doctors prescribe the pills only when your BMI is 30 or higher, or if you’re suffering from a condition related to weight, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Some of the most common prescription weight loss drugs include Orlistat, Belviq, Contrave, and Phentermine. Inform the doctor about your medical history before getting a prescription.
Orlistat blocks the body from absorbing a third of the fat you eat. It’s approved for long-term use and has a few side effects that include passing gas, abdominal cramping, more bowel movements, and leaking oily stool. The side effects are generally mild but may become severe if you consume high-fat foods. Before taking the drug, the number of your daily calories coming from fat should be less than thirty percent. If you’re taking multivitamins, take them at least 2 hours before taking Orlistat, as it makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamins. Among drugs of this kind, Orlistat is the only one that’s been approved. All other drugs work by curbing your appetite.
Also known as Lorcaserin, this drug curbs your appetite in order to prevent weight gain. It has been approved for long-term use and has few side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, dry mouth, and constipation. If you have diabetes, the side effects will include low blood sugar, coughing, fatigue and back pain. If used by people taking depression medication, it could result in serious reactions like confusion and fever. Expectant women or those planning to get pregnant should not use this drug. If you don’t lose five percent of your weight after 3 months of taking this drug, the doctor might tell you to stop using the drug.
Contrave is a combination of two drugs, naltrexone, and bupropion in an extended-release formula. Both drugs are FDA-approved. Naltrexone is used for treating alcohol and opioid dependence while bupropion is used for treating depression, seasonal affective disorder and to help people quit smoking. Contrave is approved for long term use and has few side effects that include insomnia, constipation, vomiting, and dry mouth. Contrave must not be used with patients that have seizure disorders as it can trigger seizures. The drug can increase blood pressure and heart rate and has an increased risk of causing suicidal thoughts. If you do not lose 5 percent of your weight in 3 months of taking the drug, it’s unlikely to work for you.
Also known as Adipex, phentermine works by curbing your appetite. It’s only approved for short-term use, for a few weeks only. The side effects can be serious for instance causing heart palpitations, raising your blood pressure, insomnia, restlessness, shortness of breath, and chest pain, among others. If you’re diabetic, alert the doctor as you may need to adjust your insulin dose before taking phentermine. This drug should not be taken if you have a history of strokes, heart disease, or uncontrolled high blood pressure. Avoid the drug if you’re pregnant or if you have a history of drug abuse as there is a risk of becoming dependent on it.