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Obesity is now considered more than a risk factor for other conditions; is a disease in itself. It has become the subject of intense scientific and medical research to develop effective treatments. But the demand is difficult to define.
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Four drugs approved by the FDA since 2012-Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate), Belviq (lorcaserin), Contrave (naltrexone and bupropion) and Saxenda (liraglutide)-have been added to the options to treat obesity, said Dr. Lee Kaplan, who. lead The Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “We currently have six FDA-approved drugs, but that’s a small percentage of the number available to treat high blood pressure and other chronic diseases, so we need more options to treat obesity more effectively.”
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As with older medications, new drugs are best used as part of a comprehensive weight loss program that includes close monitoring by an experienced physician. Approved drugs are usually prescribed for people with a BMI higher than 30, especially if they have other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, or sleep apnea, which can often be reduced by losing weight.
Not everyone responds the same way to a given drug. Some people can lose a lot of weight on certain drugs, while others can lose little or nothing. “Right now, we have no way of predicting that response in advance,” says Dr. Kaplan. Fortunately, however, if you don’t respond to one drug, you can do well with another. This often requires trying several medications to find one that works for each person.
Weight loss pills will not melt away the weight overnight. When successful, they result in an average weight loss of about 5% over six to 12 months. However, even this modest weight loss can improve your health and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
You may remember some disturbing reports about previous weight loss medications. Dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine were taken off the market after being linked to heart valve damage. Sibutramine (Meridia) was withdrawn after it was linked to heart attacks and strokes in people at higher risk.
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Options in today’s market come with their own caveats. The ingredient phentermine—a component of Adipex-P, Ionamin, and Qsymia—is not usually recommended for people with high blood pressure or other heart conditions. Topiramate, another component of Qsymia, has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects, so women who take it should take special precautions not to become pregnant.
If the drug helps you lose 5% of your weight in a few months without side effects, you will probably want to continue it. But medicine is not a substitute for lifestyle changes. They work best when used as part of a large medical weight loss program. It should just be part of a lifelong plan that includes diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress reduction.
Some weight loss medications contain drugs used to treat other conditions. You may want to consider a “dual purpose” medication if you have the following:
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Find helpful tips and guides for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diet for weight loss… from exercise to building a stronger core to tips on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and discoveries from experts at Harvard Medical School. When it comes to weight loss, there is no shortage of pills, drinks, and supplements that claim to help with weight loss. But do weight loss pills help, and are they safe?
The best weight loss pills may contain one or more active ingredients that are intended to increase fat burning, decrease appetite, or decrease fat absorption.
Not all weight loss pills and supplements are created equal. Certain pills can cause unpleasant side effects while others cannot be proven to lead to weight loss.
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It is important to research carefully before choosing a drug for weight loss, as some may have side effects, or interact with existing conditions.
Alli is the brand name for the drug orlistat. This is one of the most popular pills for weight loss.
Orlistat is available as a prescription drug and is also sold over the counter. It works by preventing the body from breaking down some of the fat that people eat. When the intestines absorb less fat, weight loss can occur.
Suggests that orlistat may increase weight loss by a small amount. The review found that those who took orlistat lost an average of 2.9 percent more weight than those who did not take the drug.
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Orlistat may cause changes in bowel habits. People taking orlistat may experience side effects, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and difficulty controlling bowel movements.
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate. It is also often added to diet pills and supplements.
In 76 obese adults, those with high caffeine intake saw a greater reduction in fat mass, waist circumference, and overall weight compared to those with low caffeine intake.
Glucomannan is a type of fiber supplement. It works by absorbing water from the intestines, which leads to a feeling of fullness that can cause people to eat less.
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However, a more recent review of randomized control trials suggests that glucomannan does not appear to produce significant weight loss.
Garcinia cambogia extract contains the juice of this small fruit and is available as a pill for weight loss. Garcinia cambogia can inhibit or inhibit a fat-producing enzyme called acid lyase.
There is little scientific evidence to support the use of this extract to aid weight loss. According to
Although Garcinia cambogia extract may not help in weight loss, it does not appear to cause many side effects when taken in reasonable doses. The above reports also show that adverse effects do not occur with dietary doses up to 2,800 milligrams (mg) per day.
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The body produces pyruvate when it breaks down sugar. Pyruvate is also sold as a supplement to aid in weight loss by helping to break down fat and increase metabolism.
, pyruvate may have some effect on weight loss. Existing studies are weak, so results are inconclusive.
Many diet pills contain green tea because it can increase the body’s ability to burn fat, especially fat in the abdominal area.
Although more evidence is needed, some studies suggest that drinks containing green tea extract may promote fat loss in the abdominal area. Increased fat loss can also lead to modest weight loss.
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Conjugated linoleic acid is a type of fatty acid found mainly in beef and milk. It has been marketed as one of the best weight loss pills for its potential to boost metabolism and reduce appetite.
However, most of the studies on conjugated linoleic acid leading to weight loss were done in animals. According to
Conjugated linoleic acid appears to be safe in doses up to 6 grams per day for up to 12 months. Side effects may include stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or constipation. May not be suitable for people with diabetes.
Hydroxycut is a popular dietary supplement. There are different Hydroxycut products, with different ingredients. Hydroxycut products typically contain plant extracts and caffeine, although caffeine versions of the supplement are also available.
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There are no specific studies to review Hydroxycut. Caffeine, which has been studied, can contribute to a small amount of weight loss.
Because the ingredients of Hydroxycut vary, it is difficult to indicate possible side effects. Hydroxycut supplements that contain caffeine may cause nervousness and increased heart rate.
Hydroxycut is considered a supplement and does not go through the same rigorous testing as drugs to determine its safety.
Some weight loss pills are only available with a doctor’s prescription. Although there are various types
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