There’s no “magic pill” for weight loss, but these medications may treat underlying obstacles.
You’ve followed your doctor’s advice for exercising more and changing your diet. Still, you’re not seeing the results you hoped for. The truth is, sometimes there are underlying health problems that get in the way of successful weight loss. Although you’ve got the lifestyle changes down, you might benefit from one of the weight-loss medications to treat obesity.
How Weight-Loss Medications Work
For starters, medications to treat obesity are not a “magic pill” for weight loss. Instead, these medicines work with your body’s hormones or metabolism to make lifestyle changes more effective.
The two types of weight-loss medications work by either:
- Sending receptors to your brain and telling them they’re full. This can help prevent overeating.
- Reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs in your gut. This can help reduce the caloric intake from the food you eat.
Some medications do a combination of both. They work best when you combine them with an overall healthy lifestyle. In other words, they don’t replace diet and exercise. Learn more about all the treatment options for obesity here.
How Long Will You Be Taking It?
This all depends on how your body is processing the medication. If you’ve lost enough weight and it hasn’t affected your health in any way, then your doctor might suggest you stay on the medication indefinitely. On the other hand, if you haven’t lost any weight over a certain period of time, they might recommend you stop medication altogether.
Choosing the Best Option
Prescription medications aren’t meant for everyone. They’re meant to help people who have health problems relating to their obesity. For example, obesity may lead to or worsen conditions like type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and heart disease. Depending on your situation, the need for weight loss may be more urgent. When lifestyle changes aren’t enough, weight-loss medications to treat obesity may help.
If you have questions about what course of action is best for managing your weight, talk to your doctor so you can come up with a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Dr. Sood is a board-certified endocrinologist in private practice in New York City and an assistant professor at Hofstra School of Medicine.