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Weight Management Medication: The Latest Weight Loss Craze



Weight loss drugs and medication have become hot topics recently. The World Health Organization is currently considering including obesity medication in its "essential medicines list." The request was submitted by three doctors and a researcher in the US in the hopes of making weight loss drugs more affordable and accessible. If WHO allows this request, it will mark a new approach to global obesity — 650 million obese adults and 1.3 billion overweight — by the health organization. While Hollywood celebrities are rumored to be using "miracle" weight loss drugs, for many, weight loss usually means diet and exercise. In our previous post about upgrading your standards while pursuing health, we highlight the importance of falling in love with your food instead of treating food like a hindrance to your health or your weight goal. This involves making conscious, healthy choices to give your body the energy it needs. Just as you should take the time to learn about essential nutrients and vitamins in your meals, taking the time to understand weight loss drugs can help you deal with the fear and misconceptions you may have about them and whether or not you need them. Below, we'll look at what medical weight loss is and some examples of weight management medication:

What is Medical Weight Loss?

Medical weight loss involves prescription drugs or treatments that help you lose weight over time. They are often prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes or people with obesity, as the two are considered serious chronic conditions. Recently, however, people are also turning to weight loss drugs for "casual" weight loss. Medical weight loss has further evolved to include lifestyle programs alongside prescription medication. Chronic weight management medication on its own won't lead to optimal weight management and health; it would need to be paired with healthy eating and exercise for long-term weight management. Most weight management medications are only FDA-approved for treating obese people with qualifying health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You shouldn't take weight management medication unless specifically prescribed, as they serve different purposes and may impact your body or eating. Below are some common weight management medications:

Ozempic

Ozempic may be familiar to those who heard or read about celebrities using them for instant weight loss. Approved in 2017, Ozempic—a prescription drug containing semaglutide peptides—is purposely intended to treat type 2 diabetes. It produces a hormone that lowers your blood sugar and also makes you feel full. Because of this intended purpose, the use of Ozempic as a weight loss drug raises concerns as it may lead to side effects. As it is meant to treat a chronic condition, Ozempic is supposed to be for lifelong use. A study has found that weight lost while taking Ozempic is regained a year after stopping the drug use.

Saxenda

Saxenda is used for weight management in overweight or obese adults. It is also prescribed to people with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. Saxenda functions like Ozempic by producing a hormone that regulates your blood sugar, appetite, and food intake. Like Ozempic, Saxenda is also used by injection. Today, many Saxenda alternatives are available on the market, offering consumers non-injection alternatives.

Alli


Alli is an over-the-counter weight loss pill containing orlistat. Orlistat was approved for weight loss by the FDA in 1999 and is used to block the absorption of dietary fat by about 30%. Alli is essentially a 60mg version of the prescription-only orlistat drug Xenical (120mg). Both drugs reduce monoglycerides and free fatty acids in the body, decreasing fat storage and helping lose weight.


Ultimately, consulting with medical experts and healthcare professionals is important to determine if you need weight management medication. Like other drugs and medicine, these may cause side effects, so it's important not to take them without a prescription.

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