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441 US 130,

East Windsor, NJ 08520

(609) 336-7518

09AM to 05PM EST

Effective Medical Weight Loss Medications

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly challenge many individuals. Obesity is a big problem affecting many people around the world. More and more people need safe and effective ways to lose weight.

There are many prescription weight loss medications, each with its way of working, dosage, and possible side effects. Let’s look at a few of the more regularly recommended choices.

1. GLP-1 Agonists

GLP-1 agonists are drugs that copy the effects of a hormone called GLP-1, made by cells in the intestines. GLP-1 is crucial in regulating appetite, slowing gastric emptying, and promoting satiety. These medications work by binding to and activating the GLP-1 receptors, leading to a cascade of physiological effects that aid in weight loss.

1. Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Liraglutide is a once-daily injectable GLP-1 agonist that mimics the effects of the GLP-1 hormone. It keeps blood sugar levels steady by making the body make more insulin and less glucagon. Liraglutide makes you feel full for longer by slowing digestion and reducing appetite, leading to less food.

  • Dosage: The typical dosage is 3 mg daily, administered via subcutaneous injection.
  • Use: Liraglutide is used to manage weight in individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher or with a BMI of 27 or higher and at least one obesity-related concurrent illness, such as diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia.
  • Side Effects: Headaches, sickness, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting are some of the most common side effects. With this medication, many can expect to lose 5-10% of their body weight.

2. Semaglutide (Wegovy)

Semaglutide is a once-weekly intravenous GLP-1 agonist that works similarly to the GLP-1 hormone. It, like liraglutide, stimulates insulin secretion, inhibits glucagon secretion, slows stomach emptying, and promotes feelings of fullness and satiety. However, semaglutide has a greater half-life than liraglutide, enabling weekly administration.

  • Dosage: Doctors administer it via weekly injections; the recommended dosage is 4mg weekly.
  • Use: Semaglutide is approved to help people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more or a BMI of 27 or more who have at least one condition connected to their weight stay healthy.
  • Side Effects: Its side effects are similar to liraglutide, including nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and abdominal pain. People can lose about 15% of their body weight on average.

3. Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)

Tirzepatide is a drug that works on both GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 receptors. It stimulates these receptors, aiding blood sugar regulation, insulin production, and hunger. By targeting both receptors, tripeptide may provide enhanced weight loss and glycemic control compared to other GLP-1 agonists.

  • Dosage: Doctors administer it once weekly, typically prescribing the maximum dosage of 15 mg.
  • Use: Tirzepatide is recommended for people who have a BMI of 30 or higher. It is acceptable for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or more who are overweight and have health issues.
  • Side Effects: Common adverse effects include feeling dizzy, throwing up, having diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and losing appetite. With this medication, individuals can expect to lose around 20% of their body weight.

Related, How Do GLP-1 Medications Work for Weight Loss?

2. Orlistat (Xenical)

Orlistat prevents the body from absorbing fats from food by blocking lipase. Lipase is an enzyme made by the pancreas that helps break down fats in food so the body can use them. Orlistat prevents some fat absorption, reducing calorie intake and aiding in weight loss.

  • Dosage: The typical orlistat dosage is 120 mg, taken thrice daily with meals.
  • Use: Orlistat can help people lose weight. It is recommended for those with a BMI of 30 or higher. It can also benefit people with a BMI of 27 or above who have a weight-related health problem.
  • Side Effects: Side effects may include dry mouth, constipation, sleeplessness, tingling, dizziness, and cognitive impairment. Clinical investigations have indicated that this medicine causes an average weight loss of 7-9%.

3. Phentermine/Topiramate (Qsymia)

Qsymia is a prescription weight reduction medication that includes phentermine, a hunger suppressant, with topiramate, which promotes weight loss. Weight loss with phentermine adipex has yet to be fully understood.

It is believed to work by increasing certain brain chemicals that decrease hunger and make you feel full. Topiramate, on the other hand, may help people lose weight by making them feel fuller, reducing their desire for food, and improving their body’s satiety cues.

  • Dosage: The dosage varies based on individual response but typically starts with a low dose and gradually increases.
  • Use: People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more or a BMI of 27 or more and at least one condition linked to obesity can take Qsymia to help them maintain their weight over a long period.
  • Side Effects: Some possible side effects are mouth dryness, diarrhea, sleeplessness, tingling, drowsiness, and problems with thinking and memory. Clinical studies have shown this drug to help people lose an average of 7–9% of their body weight.
Effective Medical Weight Loss Medications

4. Naltrexone/Bupropion (Contrave)

The two main ingredients in Contrave are naltrexone, which blocks opioids, and bupropion, which is a stimulant. The exact process of weight loss has yet to be fully understood. It is believed that naltrexone blocks opioid receptors in the brain.

Bupropion can help decrease food cravings and make you feel full. It is believed to boost dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, helping to reduce appetite and increase energy.

  • Dosage: The recommended dosage is two tablets (one naltrexone and one bupropion) taken twice daily after four weeks.
  • Use: People with a BMI of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or greater plus at least one obesity-related condition, are eligible to use Contrave for long-term weight management.
  • Side Effects: Nausea, problems with stool, headaches, elevated blood pressure, and insomnia are typical side effects. Individuals can expect to lose around 5% of their body weight with Contrave.

5. Setmelanotide (Imcivree)

Setmelanotide is a melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) agonist, which means it binds to and activates the MC4R, a receptor found in the brain’s hypothalamus region. The MC4R is crucial in regulating appetite, energy balance, and metabolism. By activating the MC4R, setmelanotide can help reduce food intake, increase feelings of fullness, and promote weight loss.

  • Dosage: It is given by daily injections, with the dosage determined by the patient’s weight.
  • Use: Setmelanotide is approved to treat obesity caused by specific genetic disorders such as leptin receptor deficiency or POMC deficiency.
  • Side Effects: Possible adverse effects include skin discoloration, nausea, headaches, and injection site hypersensitivity. Clinical investigations show individuals with specific genetic diseases have lost considerable weight.

Who Should Consider Weight Loss Medication

Weight loss drugs are typically provided for persons with a BMI of 30 or greater, which indicates obesity. Doctors may also recommend them to those who have a BMI of 27 or higher.

People in this category may suffer from excessive blood pressure, sleep apnea, or type 2 diabetes. Weight loss medications are most effective with healthy lifestyle choices like regular exercise and a balanced diet.

A healthcare provider evaluates a person’s medical history, current health, and potential risks before recommending weight loss treatments. This evaluation helps determine if the person is suitable for the treatments.

Before giving any advice, the medical professional should consider all these factors. It ensures that the weight loss treatments are safe and effective for the individual.

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The Final Words

Prescription weight loss pills can help fight obesity when used correctly and monitored by a doctor. From GLP-1 agonists to appetite suppressants, various options are available to aid in weight loss efforts.

Talking to a healthcare provider is essential to finding the right treatment plan. These drugs have some harmful effects, and they may not work for everyone.

Losing weight typically requires lifestyle changes. These changes may include eating healthy, staying active, and occasionally taking prescription medications. It is critical to combine these tactics for optimal weight loss. With help from healthcare experts, achieving a healthy weight can be easier with the right plan.


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Our Team

Dr Farhan Malik
Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
Dr Shoaib Malik
Dr. Shoaib Malik Primary Care Physician

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