There are FDA approved weight loss drugs that can be prescribed by a physician for people who want to lose weight. These drugs are designed for people who are very obese and have tried other diet and weight loss programs in the past without success. Clinical studies have shown that by losing weight, people can reduce the chances of them developing medical conditions later in life such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, as well as reduce insulin resistance. This is a condition which affects the body’s ability to metabolize sugars in the digestive system and the blood stream. For people who already have health concerns, losing weight can benefit them as well. A physician should do a thorough examination as well as a full medical and family history before discussing or prescribing medications for their patients to help them lose weight.
There are several different prescription drugs on the market at the present time. Several weight loss drugs were prescribed for patients in the past but have been recalled by the FDA due to complications found in people after using those drugs. We will discuss the prescription drugs that are available today and what their purpose is in assisting weight loss in people.
The first drug we will discuss today is Xenical. Xenical or Orlistat which is the generic name of the drug, is the only one of its type that is available on the market today. This drug works in a different manner than other weight loss drugs. The purpose of Xenical is to work as a lipase inhibitor which stops the bodies ability to digest fats and metabolize them into the bloodstream. The fats that are ingested by a person taking Xenical are then excreted by the body in its stools. Studies have shown that people taking Xenical while following a low fat, reduced calorie diet are able to lose 5 to 10% more weight than people who lose weight with diet alone.
Xenical does have some side effects that need to be considered. It should not be used by anyone who has diabetes, is taking blood thinners, has had an organ transplant or is taking cyclosporine. If taking Xenical, the person does need to make sure they consume less than 30% of their daily diet in fats or they can have issues such as frequency or urgency of stools, increased flatulence, as well as oily stools with some staining.
All other prescription weight loss medications such as Meridia, Tenuate, Adipex-P, Bontril, and Sanorex work on the same premise. Their function is to reduce the appetite of the person taking the drug. These types of drugs have been shown to allow obese people who are trying to lose weight to increase their ability to lose more than 10% of their body weight in a short period of time. As stated above, this medically can decrease either the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Most of these drugs are designed to be taken for short periods of time. The only two drugs approved by the FDA for longer term use are Xenical and Meridia.
Physicians can prescribe these drugs for longer periods of time. The FDA considers this off label use and no long term studies have been done in order to give us adequate information of any issues with these drugs and long term usage. As stated above, you should receive a thorough examination from your physician as well as a medical and family history of diseases before you are approved to use any of the prescription weight loss drugs that have been discussed here.