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Weight Loss

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Overview :

The long-lasting basics of weight loss include eating less and moving more. But for some people, prescription weight loss pills may also work.

Weight loss is the reduction of total body mass, due to an average loss of fluids, body fat or lean mass such as muscle tendons, bone mineral de

Weight can occur unintentionally due to malnourishment or some underlying disease, or intentionally from a conscious effort to improve the overweight or obese state.

Unintentional weight loss not caused due to a reduction in calorific intake or exercise is known as cachexia. It may occur as a symptom of some severe medical condition. Intentional weight loss is commonly known as slimming.

Intentional weight loss is a loss of total body mass as a result of efforts to improve health and fitness, or to change appearance through slimming. Weight loss is also the primary treatment for obesity, and there are substantial pieces of evidence that it can prevent prediabetes leading to diabetes type 2 with a 7-10% weight loss and management of cardiometabolic health for diabetic people with 5-15% weight loss.

Weight loss in people who are overweight can reduce health risks, delay the onset of diabetes, and increase fitness. It also helps reduce pain and increase movement in people with knee osteoarthritis. Weight loss leads to a reduction in high blood pressure, hypotension.

People can achieve weight loss by adopting a lifestyle that includes fewer calories and more exercise.

Stress, depression, and boredom also contribute to weight gain. Individuals with these conditions should seek medical counsel.

Weight loss medications

Prescription weight loss medications also help loose weight. Doctors usually prescribe weight loss pills if your BMI is higher than 30, or its at least 27, and you have a condition related to weight like high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

A doctor may prescribe you to take prescription weight loss pills. They help obese people lose weight and are usually more useful, along with diet and exercise. People using weight loss pills will not feel hungry, or they may feel full sooner. Other types of weight loss medications make it hard for your body to absorb fat.

Use of Weight Loss Pills

Weight loss pills are only for people who are obese or overweight. These medications are for those people who weigh 20% or more above their ideal weight according to their height and body type. They are for people who have a high Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is a measurement of your weight in relation to your height. A doctor may prescribe your weight loss pills if you have:

  • A BMI of 30 or more
  • A BMI of 27 or more with a disease or condition related to your body weight

The doctor will determine whether prescription weight loss medications are helpful for you.

Improved Health

Weight loss pills generally work in two ways. Most of them work in the body to make you feel full sooner or less hungry. The other type of medication works in the digestive tract to block the amount of fat a body absorbs.

The FDA approves some medicines only for a short period, usually not more than 12 weeks, while there are some medications for long-term use.

Following are some medications approved by the FDA for weight loss:


Brand name: Xenical

Work: reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the body

Side effects: uncontrollable bowel movements, diarrhea, oily stools

Warnings: it reduces the number of specific vitamins absorbed by the body. The person taking this pill needs to take a multivitamin pill every day.

Description: Orlistat also comes as a lower dose non-prescription pill known as Alli. It is the only medicine of its kind approved by the United States FDA.

Below is the list of medicines that makes you feel less hungry or full sooner. They have common side effects such as dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, diarrhea, and nausea.


Brand name: Belviq

Work: makes a person feel full faster by acting on serotonin receptors in the brain

Side effects: headache, cough, tiredness, weakness

Warnings: these pills interact with depression and migraine medications


Brand name: Contrave

Work: make a person feel less hungry or full sooner

Side effects: insomnia, headache, vomiting, liver damage, increased blood pressure and heart rate

Warnings: Not for use in people with untreated high blood pressure, a history of bulimia or anorexia, or seizures. Avoid using the pills if you are dependent on opioids or withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Not for use in patients already taking bupropion (brand name Zyban, Wellbutrin). The medication can also increase suicidal thoughts or ideation.


Brand name: Saxenda

Work: it makes a person feel less hungry or full sooner

Side effects: headache, abdominal pain, increased pulse

Warnings: the medicine is available only as an injection and can increase the chances of developing pancreatitis


Brand name: Adipex-P

Work: it makes a person feel less hungry or full sooner

Side effects: increased heart rate and blood pressure

Warnings: the medicine may cause primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), valvular heart disease, and risk of abuse or addiction.

Several other medications reduce the desire to eat. Still, the FDA approves them only for short-term use up to 12 weeks as they have some side effects too, including trouble sleeping, nervousness or restlessness, headache, or raised pulse or blood pressure.

These medications are not for use in patients of uncontrollable high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, or glaucoma. Also, tell your doctor if you have mood disorders or anxiety before taking these medications.

In rare cases, some weight loss pills may cause severe liver injuries. If you experience any of the following liver injury symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Itchiness of skin
  • Brown or dark-colored urine
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite

Individual weight loss supplements containing ephedrine, ephedra, or caffeine are also available over the counter (without a prescription). Although it is unknown whether these medications are safe or not. People associated such supplements with the reports of seizure, heart attack, stroke, or death. You should consult a health care provider or doctor if you are taking or planning to take any over-the-counter weight loss supplements.

Tips for taking weight loss pills

  • Follow all your doctor’s instructions about weight loss medicine
  • Buy your weight loss pills from a licensed pharmacy
  • Take weight loss pills to support your healthy diet and physical activity plan
  • Know all the potential side effects and warnings for taking weight loss pills
  • Stop taking the medication and consult your doctor if you do not lose weight within the first four to five weeks following the use of weight loss pills
  • Tell about all other medicines, including vitamins and supplements, before taking the weight loss medications
  • Avoid taking weight loss pills during pregnancy or if you are planning to get pregnant

Things to Remember

How to avoid gaining weight back after stopping the use of weight loss pills?

Being over-weight is uncurable. Prescription weight loss pills can help you get off to a much-needed start. But once you stop taking these medicines, the weight you lost through them may come back. To keep that weight off, you need to follow the following things:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Be physically active
  • Exercise regularly
  • Continue healthy habits
  • Keep away from unhealthy and high-calorie foods
  • Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol

You should continue with healthy habits even after you stop taking weight loss pills. Remember that losing weight is just the first step, keeping it off is a lifelong effort.

How to lose weight without weight loss pills?

If weight loss medicines didn’t suit you or you want to lose some extra pounds even after stopping the medications, some habits can help you meet your weight-loss goals.

You should develop healthy habits but don’t expect anything to change overnight.

Start by training yourself to eat without simultaneously doing anything else. For instance, don’t eat while watching a football match. Try to eat slowly and focus on what you are eating.

The next step is to change how and what you eat. A healthcare expert can help you create a low-calorie diet plan that will help you lose some extra pounds.

It is essential to be physically active. A good goal on an average is to work up to exercise for at least 30 minutes four to six times a week. Exercising regularly helps you burn calories faster, even when you are not active. Exercise helps you build muscle and burn fat.

Aerobics is an excellent option to burn more calories as it increases your heart rate, thus burning calories. Aerobic exercises include brisk walking, swimming, bicycling, or jogging. Weight training aerobics exercise is good because it adds muscle mass to the body, which burns calories faster than fat.

Check with a doctor or a trainer before you begin an exercise program for yourself. They will help you create a plan that can meet your desired goals.

What does obesity mean?

Health care experts use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to define overweight or obesity. People with a BMI between 25 to 30 are overweight while obesity is having a BMI of 30 or above. You need to calculate your BMI to know if you are overweight or obese. Being obese may increase the risks of health problems. A health care provider can assess your risks due to overweight.

Doctors define obesity as a chronic condition that affects one in three adults in the United States. Another one in three adults is overweight. If you are struggling with it too, you may find a low-calorie diet plan and a regular exercise plan to help you lose weight and keep it off in the long run. If the lifestyle changes do not help you manage your weight, you can take weight loss pills on your doctor’s prescription.

Can children or adolescents take weight loss pills?

The American Food and Drug Administration approved most weight-loss medicines only for adults. Children and adolescents should not take medications to lose weight. However, if they have medical conditions associated with their overweight, a doctor may prescribe some safer medicine to lose weight along with other measures to lose weight.

Orlistat, brand name Xenical, is a weight loss medication approved for children of 12 years of age and older.

Can weight loss pills replace healthy lifestyle changes?

Weight loss medications can never replace physical activity or healthy eating habits. Studies and researches show that weight-loss pills work best when combined with healthy lifestyle changes. You should ask a doctor or any health care provider about robust lifestyle treatment programs for managing your weight.

Are there any concerns using prescription medications for weight loss?

Doctors concern that in some cases, the risks of using weight loss pills may outweigh its potential benefits. For this reason, you shouldn’t take weight loss medicines only to look good. According to reports, weight loss medicines caused severe health problems for the people using them.

The FDA banned fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, a part of the “fen-phen” combination, due to the high chances of heart valve problems in the year 1997.

Side effects of the weight loss pills vary from person to person depending upon many different factors. Most side effects that occur are mild in nature and often go away as you continue taking the medicines. Rarely, some severe side effects develop with weight loss medications.

Which weight loss pill might work best for you?

Choosing a weight loss medication is a decision between you and your doctor. A doctor may consider several points before prescribing weight loss pills to you:

  • The benefits of weight loss for you
  • Possible side effects of the medication
  • Your current health
  • Medical conditions you have
  • Concurrent medications you are taking
  • Medical history of your family

What may weight loss pills be available in the future?

Researchers are currently working on several new medications or combinations of medications to help lose weight. They work to identify more effective and safer medicines to help overweight or obese people lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle for the long-term.

Future weight loss pills may use new strategies such as:

  • Combination of drugs affecting appetite and cravings
  • Stimulating gut hormones to reduce appetite
  • Shrinking blood vessels that feed fat cells in the body to prevent them from growing
  • Targeting genes that affect body weight
  • Changes bacteria in the gut to control weight