Weight Loss Prescription Drugs
It's best to lose weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise. But if you're among those who struggle to lose weight and who have weight-related medical problems, weight-loss drugs may be able to help you.
You should know, however, that weight-loss drugs don't replace the need for changes in your eating habits or activity level. And although weight-loss drugs may sound like every dieter's dream, they aren't appropriate for everyone who's overweight.
Prescription weight-loss drugs aren't intended for people who want to lose just a few pounds for cosmetic reasons. They're 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.
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, a typical initial goal for any weight-loss effort. 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.
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