Weight loss medications – Can they help?
The doctors at Elina Weight loss clinic can prescribe medications to help you lose weight when our dietary and exercise programs have not been successful on their own. It is important to remember that body weight is regulated by hormonal signals and our body’s control systems can go to great lengths to prevent weight loss and promote regain of weight.
Although lifestyle is a big factor in why people gain weight there’s a definite genetic and biological reason too. Because of differences in physiology, some people will just have a harder time losing and maintaining weight.
Prescription medications to treat overweight aend obesity work in different ways. For example, some medications may help you feel less hungry or full sooner. Other medications may make it harder for your body to absorb fat from the foods you eat.
They are also a useful addition to our rapid weight loss program to help suppress appetite and hunger. There is also a place for medications for patients struggling with keeping weight off in the long term.
At the first bul billed appointment patients undergo a detailed assessment of their weight journey and physical health status to assess suitability for our intensive medically supervised program.
Medications should be considered an added tool to our armoury of weight loss solutions rather than a stand alone solution.
Before prescribing a weight-loss medication, your doctor will consider
- the likely benefits of weight loss
- the medication’s possible side effects
- your current health issues and other medications
Weight-loss medications aren’t for everyone. Some people who are overweight or obese may lose weight with a lifestyle program that helps them change their behaviours and improve their eating and physical activity habits. A lifestyle program may also address other factors that affect weight gain, such as eating triggers and not getting enough sleep.
Medications don’t replace physical activity or healthy eating habits as a way to lose weight. Studies show that weight-loss medications work best when combined with a lifestyle program
When combined with changes to behaviour, including eating and physical activity habits, prescription medications may help some people lose weight. On average, people who take prescription medications as part of a lifestyle program lose between 3 and 9 percent more of their starting body weight than people in a lifestyle program who do not take medication. Research shows that some people taking prescription weight-loss medications lose 10 percent or more of their starting weight. Results vary by medication and by person.
When can weight loss medicines be used?
Weight loss medicines are generally only recommended for people who have had repeated, unsuccessful attempts at losing weight and are:
- obese (body mass index – BMI – of 30kg/m2 or greater); or
- overweight (BMI of 27-30kg/m2) and have additional weight-related health problems.
You Calculate your body mass index with our BMI calculator
Weight loss medicines may also be suitable for:
- helping to kick-start weight loss;
- maintaining weight loss
- preventing weight regain
Taking weight loss medications won’t result in weight loss without making other changes to your diet and physical activity
Weight loss medicines that are available in Australia-
Phentermine (Duromine )
Phentermine is an appetite suppressant. This means that when taking it you will feel less hungry. These medicines require close monitoring.
Liraglutide is a medicine that also suppresses appetite, it increases satiety and delays gastric emptying resulting in reduced hunger and cravings.Liraglutide is given by a daily injection under the skin using a simple pen injector device and is only available on prescription.
Contrave was release in Feb 2019 and is a combination medication that works directly on the addiction centres of the brain resulting in reduced cravings and compulsive eating.
Topamax is an anti-migraine medication that may be used off-label for appetite suppression.
(Bydurion, Trulicity and Byetta) These drugs have also been found useful in weight management and may be an option for diabetics.
Prescription medications used “off-label” to treat overweight and obesity.
Sometimes doctors use medications in a way that’s different from what the TGA has approved, known as “off-label” use. By choosing an off-label medication to treat overweight and obesity, your doctor may prescribe
- a drug approved for treating a different medical problem
- two or more drugs at the same time
- a drug for a longer period of time than approved by the TGA
If your doctor suggests a medication that is not approved just for treating overweight and obesity, you will be provided with detailed information on the evidence and safety of the use of such medications in the setting of weight management.
At Elina weight loss clinic we believe that losing weight hungry is a recipe for failure.
In the correctly selected patient, medications in addition to our diet based rapid weight loss program results in significant weigh loss without the intense hunger that usually accompanies dietary restriction. In addition, learning to lose weight without hunger assists in the long-term maintenance of weight.
The bottom line is weight-loss drugs aren’t an easy answer to weight loss, but they can be a tool to help you adopt the lifestyle changes you need to lose weight and improve your health.