Examining the Pros and Cons of Weight Loss Medications

Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri_2012By: Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri

If you have serious health problems because of your weight and dieting hasn’t worked for you, prescription weight-loss drugs may be an option in addition to diet and exercise. You should know, though, that prescription weight-loss drugs don’t replace the need to make healthy changes in your eating habits and activity level.

Prescription weight-loss drugs are generally reserved for people who haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise, have health problems because of their weight, and do not meet the criteria for weight loss surgery. They’re not an answer for normal weight people who want to lose just a few pounds. Also, due to significant side effects that may occur, they should not be used without the supervision of a physician with experience in treating obesity.

Your doctor may consider weight-loss drugs for you if 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 but less than 35
  • Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Your doctor will also consider your health history, possible side effects and the potential interaction of weight-loss drugs with other medications you’re taking. When combined with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise, weight-loss drugs produce an average weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of excess body weight within a year. Diet and exercise is responsible for part of this weight loss, and medications are responsible in part as well.

Even modest weight loss can help to decrease blood pressure, lipid levels and blood glucose levels as well as increase insulin sensitivity. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these medications may not work for everyone. And when you stop taking these medications, you’re likely to regain much or all of the weight you lost.

If your weight is impacting your health and quality of life, consult your physician or schedule an appointment with a bariatric surgeon to discuss your options for more permanent weight loss solutions.

Dr. Adeyeri is a board-certified and fellowship-trained laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon and serves as medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center. The Institute provides individualized medical and surgical solutions and support for individuals seeking weight loss, including nutrition and lifestyle counseling. For more information or to attend a free weight loss surgery seminar, call 855.TIME.4.ME.

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