Weight-loss basics (12)
- Weight loss: Ready to change your habits?
- Weight-loss goals: Set yourself up for success
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics
- see all in Weight-loss basics
Diet plans (5)
- Weight loss: Choosing a diet that's right for you
- Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight?
- Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes
- see all in Diet plans
Mayo Clinic diet (6)
- Weight loss: Gain control of emotional eating
- Snacks: How they fit into your weight-loss plan
- The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight-loss program for life
- see all in Mayo Clinic diet
Diet and exercise (9)
- Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour
- Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier
- Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health
- see all in Diet and exercise
Diet pills, supplements and surgery (6)
- Prescription weight-loss drugs: Can they help you?
- Over-the-counter weight-loss pills: Do they work?
- Alli weight-loss pill: Does it work?
- see all in Diet pills, supplements and surgery
Prescription weight-loss drugs: Can they help you?
Examine the pros and cons of medications to treat obesity.By Mayo Clinic staff
If you have serious health problems because of your weight and dieting hasn't worked for you, prescription weight-loss drugs may be an option. You should know, though, that prescription weight-loss drugs don't replace the need to make healthy changes in your eating habits and activity level.
Who is a candidate for weight-loss drugs?
Prescription weight-loss drugs are generally reserved for people who haven't been able to lose weight through diet and exercise, and who have health problems because of their weight. They're not for people who want to lose just a few pounds for cosmetic reasons.
Your doctor may consider weight-loss drugs for you if haven't been able to lose weight through diet and exercise and you meet one of the following:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30
- Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
Before selecting a medication for you, your doctor will consider your health history, possible side effects and potential interaction of weight-loss drugs with other medications you're taking.
How well do weight-loss drugs work?
When combined with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise, weight-loss drugs produce an average weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of total body weight within a year, which is a typical weight-loss goal. Diet and exercise are responsible for part of this weight loss, and medications are responsible for part as well.
Losing 5 to 10 percent of your total weight may not seem like much, but even modest weight loss can improve your health by:
- Decreasing blood pressure
- Decreasing lipid levels
- Decreasing blood glucose levels
- Increasing insulin sensitivity
It's important to keep in mind, however, that these medications may not work for everyone. And when you stop taking these medications, you're likely to regain much or all of the weight you lost.Next page
(1 of 2)
- Prescription medications for the treatment of obesity. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/prescription.htm#meds. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Bray GA, et al. Drug therapy of obesity. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Padwal RS, et al. Drug treatments for obesity: Orlistat, sibutramine and remonabant. The Lancet. 2007;369:71.
- Rucker D, et al. Long term pharmacotherapy for obesity and overweight: Updated meta-analysis. BMJ. 2007;335:1194.
- Meridia (sibutramine): Market withdrawal due to risk of serious cardiovascular events. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm228830.htm. Accessed Dec. 7, 2011.
- Completed safety review of Xenical/Alli (orlistat) and severe liver injury. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm213038.htm. Accessed Dec. 7, 2011.
- Xenical (prescribing information). San Francisco, Calif.: Genentech USA, Inc.; 2010. http://www.gene.com/gene/products/information/xenical/. Accessed Dec. 7, 2011.
- Belviq (prescribing information). San Diego, Calif.: Arena Pharmaceuticals; 2012. http://invest.arenapharm.com. Accessed June 29, 2012.
- FDA approves Belviq to treat some overweight or obese adults. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm309993.htm. Accessed July 23, 2012.
- FDA approves weight-management drug Qsymia. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm312468.htm. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Qsymia (prescribing information). Mountain View, Calif.: Vivus Inc.; 2012. http://www.vivus.com/products. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Pollack A. FDA approves Qsymia, a weight-loss drug. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/business/fda-approves-qsymia-a-weight-loss-drug.html. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Allison DB, et al. Controlled-release phentermine/topiramate in severly obese adults: A randomized controlled trial (EQUIP). Obesity. 2011;20:330.
- Medications target long-term weight control. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm312380.htm. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Belviq (lorcaserin) — Not currently available. Eisai, Inc. http://us.eisai.com/product.asp?ID=290&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=+belviq&utm_campaign=Efficacy%2B&%2BPI. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Benzphetamine (Didrex) prescribing information. New York., N.Y.: Pharmacia and Upjohn; 2010. http://www.vivus.com/products. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Phentermine (Suprenza) prescribing information. Cranford, N.J.: Akrimas; 2012. http://www.akrimaxpro.com/index.php?page=suprenza. Accessed March 14, 2013.
- Diethylpropion (Tenuate) prescribing information. Corona, Calif.: Watson Laboratories, Inc., 2012. http://www.actavis.com/en/Products/SearchProductResults.htm?search_criteria=tenuate. Accessed March 14, 2013.
- Phendmetrazine (Bontril) prescribing information. Princeton, N.J.: Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, 2009. http://www.catalog.us.sandoz.com/ProductCatalog/displayNDCList.jsp. Accessed March 14, 2013.