Are there drugs for obesity? What you need to know about medications approved to treat obesity
Do medications that help with weight loss work? Why are the drugs indicated for weight loss not used? Although there is a belief that obesity has no pharmaceutical treatment, it is also true that professionals have an increasing number of obese patients. These patients cannot maintain a healthy weight loss with changes in their eating habits. So patients’ frustration often makes them willing to pay exorbitant amounts to find a solution.
Are There Drugs for Obesity?
Thus, it is worth learning about and analyzing the types of medications that we currently have to solve obesity. It is necessary to assess whether pharmaceutical treatment for obesity can be a good strategy to combat it.
Today some drugs contribute between 5-15% in weight loss and improve all associated comorbidities (diseases or complications).
The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) currently authorizes three drugs for long-term treatment. However, bear in mind that in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has five authorized. All are indicated for a body mass index (BMI) > 30 or a (BMI) > 27 with comorbidities.
The active principles responsible for these treatments authorized in Spain are Orlistat, liraglutide, and Bupropion + Naltrexone.
What is the Best Treatment for Obesity?
Orlistat inhibits pancreatic lipase, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats so that they can be absorbed. Consequently, there is a decrease in the absorption of fats from the diet. It is associated with weight loss:
-lowering of blood pressure
-prevention of type 2 diabetes
The possible associated adverse effects are gastrointestinal such as diarrhea or flatulence.
The drug is not for use during pregnancy, in cholestasis, malabsorption syndrome, or cyclosporine administration. It may increase oxalate in urine and may predispose to kidney stones.
Weight Loss Medication Prescription
The main medications currently approved and marketed are Ali, Beacita, Lestat and Orliloss These can be purchased without a prescription and given three 60 mg capsules per day with meals. As for those under medical prescription, they differ from the previous ones by doubling the dose to 120mg. These are known by the names of Orlistat, Orliloss and Xenical.
Semaglutide Liraglutide Weight Loss
Liraglutide is an incretin analog, specifically glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). It is released in response to food intake and has receptors in the hypothalamus and in the intestine, where it increases the feeling of satiety. GLP-1 is a hormone that regulates glucose homeostasis by stimulating insulin secretion. It is also used in type 2 diabetes patients and in obese patients for its satiating effect. The possible associated adverse effects are of a gastrointestinal type: nausea, and abdominal pain; by itself, there is no risk of hypoglycemia.
- It is contraindicated in thyroid cancer, type 2 multiple endocrine neoplasia, pancreatitis, and during pregnancy and lactation.
- The administration is through a daily subcutaneous injection. It begins with a dose of 0.6 MB the first week and will gradually increase up to a quantity of 3mg daily. The drug currently marketed is Saxenda and is under medical prescription.
Weight Loss Medication Prescription
The third and last drug approved is the combination of Naltrexone and Bupropion. It is a drug with significant effects. At the level of the hypothalamus, it stimulates satiety through a dual mechanism and stimulates the production of POMC and melanocortin. It blocks endorphin receptors and the pleasure associated with eating. It can cause gastrointestinal side effects and sometimes changes in mood.
These drugs pose an exciting line of intervention for patients with obesity. More new studies need to be done, and further efforts to prevent and treat obesity. In addition, more knowledge of the pathways that lead to excess adiposity is necessary. Investigation and intervention with the management of the treatments above may put an end this problem.