Different Types of Prescription Weight-Loss Drugs and What They Do

Weight loss is one of the major health concerns in the world today. Thousands of people are struggling with obesity and the related health issues. In some countries, the number of adults and children that are overweight and obese pose a big health concern. Obesity and the health issues that are related to it, like heart disease and high blood pressure, often require chronic prescription medication. The best way to lose weight is to eat better and exercise, but in some cases, prescription drugs may be the help a person needs.

There are five prescription medications that have been proven to aid weight-loss. We look at four of these today.

1. Orlistat (also known as Alli or Xenical)

Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor that can be prescribed in either 60mg or 120 mg doses. The lower dosage is called Alli and can be bought over the counter. 120mg of Orlistat is called Xenical and you need a prescription for that.

Orlistat basically prevents your intestines from absorbing all the fat that comes through your system from food. It is prescribed for adults of 18 years and older. Find out more here.

2. Naltrexone and Bupropion (also known as Contrave)

Contrave is a combination of two types of drugs that work together to suppress the appetite. Naltrexone is an opioid inhibitor and bupropion is an anti-depressant. Bupropion reduces feelings of hunger which helps to suppress the appetite. However, it also increases certain opioids in the brain that make you feel like you will never be full after a meal. That is where Naltrexone comes in and it blocks this specific effect of Bupropion.

Contrave is not seen as the best option as it has side effects like regular feelings of nausea as well as a potential increase in suicidal thoughts. It is prescribed for adults.

3. Lorcaserin (also known as Belviq)

Lorcaserin is a serotonin receptor agonist. This means that the drug makes you feel fuller faster and makes you eat less. This drug has been proven very successful when combined with a low-calorie diet and a good exercise program. People have reported reaching their weight-loss goals within three months of taking Lorcaserin.

This medication is only prescribed for adults. The one major drawback is that you need to keep taking it to control your weight. Once you stop taking it, you will likely feel the weight coming back.

4. Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Liraglutide was initially developed to help people with diabetes. Researchers realised that the patients taking these drugs also lost weight and the drug became a weight-loss drug as well. Liraglutide basically controls the blood sugar to reduce the appetite and feelings of hunger. It increases the release of insulin and decreases the release of sugar from the liver.

This medication has to be taken by injection and is only suitable for adults.

These medications may have been approved as safe to use, but it is very important to always remember that any drug has side effects. Each of these drugs has side effects that can cause other health problems. Always check with your doctor first and use prescription drugs for weight-loss with great care.