Prescription medicine is medicine you can take only when a doctor or physician advises it. It’s different from over-the-counter medicine like aspirin, which you can get easily from your local drug store. Prescription weight loss medication is used by doctors and physicians to cure obesity. The medication is used along with diet changes and exercise to help the patient reduce their weight, which may otherwise be putting the patient in danger. The dose and usage of any prescription medicine depends primarily on how the physician assesses the medical condition of the patient. This article walks you through some of the most common prescription medications, using the information provided by MEDLINE plus, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and US Food and Drug Administration government websites. Prescription weight loss medication is only approved for those patients who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or above. In case they suffer from other health risks such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, etc, then the defining BMI is 27 or above.
The FDA has approved of a number of diabetes medication for weight loss that can help people suffering from obesity. These prescription drugs are not recommended as the primary source of achieving weight loss, but as an aid when diet changes and exercise simply won’t help the patient out of the danger zone. David Orloff, M.D., director of the FDA’s Division of Metabolic and Endocrine Drug Products says about prescription weight loss medication, “There is no magic pill for obesity, the best effect you’re going to get is with a concerted long-term regimen of diet and exercise. If you choose to take a drug along with this effort, it may provide additional help.”
The basic function of all prescription drugs used to be the suppression of appetite. Then along came Xenical (orlistat). This medicine received its approval from the FDA in 1999, and is in a new class of weight loss, anti-obesity medication being referred to as ‘Lipase Inhibitors’. Lipase is the enzyme the body releases to absorb dietary fat. This dietary fat is then stored in the body. What Xenical does is reduce the absorption of dietary fat in the body by 30 percent. With this absorption significantly reduced, it becomes possible to better control the patients weight. The side effects that Xenical has shown include, cramping, diarrhea, flatulence, intestinal discomfort, and leakage of oily stool.
Another kind of prescription weight loss medication available is Meridia (sibutramine). Meridia got the FDA’s approval in 1997. It works by reducing appetite. Appetite is reduced by controlling the release of certain chemicals in the brain which tell the body when it’s hungry. But Meridia is not prescribed to patients with high blood pressure or a history of heart diseases because it tends to increase heart rate as well as blood pressure. Some of its commonly reported side effects include headache, dry mouth, constipation and insomnia.
There are also some other prescription medicine that the FDA approved of, but the approval was based on short-term tests. These medicine caused only short term benefits and because f their potentially addictive nature, they were not recommended for use beyond a few months. These medicines include;
- Bontril (phendimetrazine tartrate),
- Desoxyn (methamphetamine) and
- Ionamin and Adipex-P (phentermine)
These medicines have proven to be dangerous for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid gland, or glaucoma.
Whether using prescription medication or over-the-counter drugs, you should always consult your doctor about what is appropriate for you and what the dosage should be.