For those who have tried to diet and exercise without success, weight loss medicine may provide a safer alternative to gastric bypass and other surgical procedures. While it should not be used as a replacement for eating healthy and being physically active, prescription medication may be the only answer for people who have medical reasons for not responding to lifestyle changes. There are a few things you should consider when deciding whether to ask your doctor about weight loss medicine.
There are different mechanisms used by the various weight loss medicines available. Some are designed to increase the body’s metabolism so that it burns more calories at rest, while others are geared toward suppressing the appetite or preventing the body from absorbing fat. Be careful when taking weight loss medicine as some of them have been shown to cause problems in patients with previous heart or blood pressure issues. Always tell your doctor about any pre-existing health conditions such as these or any medications you are taking, either over-the-counter or prescription.
Because of the risks of prescription medication, weight loss medicine has only been approved for treatment of those with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30. People with obesity-related medical conditions are eligible for a prescription if they have a BMI over 27. Of course, consult your doctor to find out if this is an option for you. If weight loss medicine is prescribed, your physician will generally require periodic montoring to make sure there are no side effects and that you are getting the desired results. A medication that reduces appetite may not be effective if the problem is that your body’s metabolism is not high enough to burn off existing fat.
Some of the more common appetite suppressant weight loss medicines include Adipex, Bontril, and phentermine. Phentermine is well-known as the ingredient in Phen-Fen, the popular diet pill that was removed from the market due to the increase risk of heart failure. Didrex, or benzphetamine hydrochloride, is similar to amphetamine in the way it decreases appetite while also boosting metabolism. Phendimetrazine and Tenuate also increase your metabolism by boosting heart rate and blood pressure. Xenical is one of the few medications that target the absorption of fat within the digestive system. By preventing the release of a specific enzyme required for the breakdown of fat, the medication makes it so that fats in food cannot be digested and turned into fat in the body.
Meridia, which is the newest of the appetite suppressant medications, operates in a very different manner and is giving hope to people who were unable to take standard amphetamine-based diet medications. Instead of physically speeding up the body, it inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. This is similar to the effect of today’s anti-depressants and serves to give the patient a feeling of being satisfied and content. This promising new type of weight loss medicine may be able to help those people who eat out of an emotional need rather than a physical compulsion or food craving.