Medical Weight Loss Medications

*Featured guest Mendy Peterson, PA-C

Who qualifies for medical weight loss medications?

  • These are medications prescribed in a doctor’s office and are generally for people with a BMI of over 30. You cannot be pregnant or breastfeeding and your blood pressure must be safe. You also have to make sure the weight loss medications do not interfere with any current medications you are taking.

What kind of things should people be looking for that are contraindicative of having an appetite suppressant?

  • All of the medications mentioned today are some form of an appetite suppressant. You want to make sure that if you are on a blood pressure medication, you are very careful and not consuming a lot of caffeine. You also need to be taking a multivitamin. These medications will not replace diet and exercise and does not allow you to eat more. A lot of patients are not even prescribed a medication unless it they are on a diet and exercise regimen.

Phentermine products (Adipex-P®, Lomaira® or Suprenza®)- How does it work and what should people be concerned about in making this decision?

  • Phentermine is a stimulant. It was one of the first medications introduced back in the 70’s and was called FenFen. It caused a lot of cardiac side effects. If you choose to take this medication, you need to make sure you don’t have any heart conditions. It will make you feel hyper and do not don’t take the medication for longer than 6 months.

Why would people choose to use this medication?

  • This product may help you lose 5-10% of your weight a year, but you can lose a lot more on the Ideal Protein plan with healthy eating.

Orlistat (Xenical® or alli®)- How does it work?

  • This is a very safe medication. It isn’t the best medication for a low fat, low carb diet because it needs fat to work. It decreases your fat intake my 30% by releasing it into your stool. The embarrassing side effect of this medication is greasy stool and diarrhea. You will only have about 5% weight loss a year.

Lorcaserin HCI (Belviq®)- How does it work?

  • This is the newest medication on the market. It works by using serotonin and dopamine in the brain. It is pretty safe, but you will only have 5-10% weight loss a year.

Naltrexone HCI AND bupropion HCI (CONTRAVE®)- How does it work?

  • It is a combination of two medications (buproprion and naltrexone). You need to be very careful on this medication. It has a 30% drop out rate in the first month on this medication due to the naltrexone which makes people feel horrible. It turns off the addiction center in your brain. There is less than 10% weight loss a year and there are a lot of side effects of this medication.

Phentermine- topiramate ER (Qsymia®)- How does it work?

  • This is a newer medication and contains Topamax (a mood stabilizer). It is a simple regime and is one of the most effective medications. 14% weight loss a year.

Liraglutide injection (Saxenda®)- How does it work?

  • This medication is the most expensive. It costs about $1300 a year and is a once a day injectable. It changes how glucagon and insulin are released in the body. It does cause nausea, but patients tend to get use to it.

Using weight loss medications may help you get going and lose some of the cravings but you need to learn to manage the rest of it with good nutrition and eating habits which you can find with the Ideal Protein diet.

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