The use of prescription drugs to treat obesity is appropriate in cases where modifications in diet and lifestyle alone aren’t effective. However, these medications should only be used for patients whose lives and health might be at risk because of their obesity.
Weight Loss Prescription Drugs
There are two types of weight loss prescription drugs that are available, namely appetite suppressants and fat blockers. The appetite suppressants work by reducing your appetite and some of them include diethylpropion, benzphetamine, phendimetrazine, mazindol and sibutramine. Orlistat is a fat burner or blocker that digests the fat in the food and prevents it from being absorbed by the body. These drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here’s a look at some of the risks associated with weight loss prescription drugs:
Most prescription drugs are controlled drugs. This means that patients can get addicted to them. Doctors should take care that patients don’t become dependent on these drugs and should be especially careful when prescribing them to patients who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse.
2. Development of Tolerance
Although loss of weight is observed soon after the administration of weight loss prescription drugs, after a period of 6 months of use, the loss of weight plateaus. Doctors believe that these medications are no longer effective after a certain period of time. Research also indicates that continued administration may result in weight gain. This could be because the patient develops tolerance to the medication. Another reason could be that these medications are limited in their effectiveness.
Patients on weight loss prescription medications sometimes feel that the drugs will achieve results on their own, and refuse to make any adjustments in their lifestyle. They continue to eat too much and refrain from physical activity. Patients should be made to realize that there is nothing magical about these medications, and in order to achieve desired results they must make an effort to adhere to a healthy diet and lead an active life.
4. Indiscriminate Use by Doctors and Patients
Prescription drugs shouldn’t be administered to people who are slightly obese or to those who simply want to look good. Instead, it should be administered to people whose body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more. They may also be administered to people who have diseases such as hypertension, high amounts of fat in their blood or diabetes, even though their BMI is 27.
5. Wrongful Targeting of Fat by Weight Loss Prescription Drugs
Fat blockers target all fat as bad. However, if fat isn’t absorbed by the body, it can cause fecal urgency and poor absorption of essential nutrients present in fats like vitamins A, D and E.
6. Side Effects of Weight Loss Prescription Medications
Although most of the side effects are mild, some of these include an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, nervousness, dry mouth, irritability, nausea and pain in the abdomen. Loss of appetite, itchiness, yellow eyes, skin and feces, and dark colored urine are other side effects that may arise.
Weight loss drugs are for short term use and they’re only appropriate for certain patients. Such patients should adopt new eating habits and exercise regularly to achieve optimum results.