Newly Approved Weight Loss Drugs: Can They Help You?
The Obesity Crisis: A National Epidemic
These numbers are especially astounding because obesity is the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. In addition, being overweight or obese is a recognized risk factor for many health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and certain cancers.
The Skinny on Weight Loss: Is There a Magic Pill?
New weight loss agents have recently become available on the U.S. market that can help patients lose 3 to 9 percent of their weight when combined with diet and exercise. Be sure to talk to your doctor for sound advice before starting any weight loss program.
What is a BMI?
In general, you should not use weight loss medications unless you are at risk for a health-related condition. A low-fat diet and regular exercise are part of the weight-loss regimen that should be continued even if weight loss medicines are stopped.
How Do I Calculate My BMI?
- Multiply weight in pounds by 703.
- Divide that answer by height in inches.
- Divide that answer by height in inches again.
Update: The New Weight Loss Drugs Qsymia and Belviq
Both Qsymia and Belviq are C-IV controlled substances. Neither drug is approved for use in children.
How Does Qsymia Work?
The drug is used for weight control in two groups: either those who are obese (BMI of 30 or higher), or those who are overweight (BMI of at least 27) and also have at least one weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. The Qsymia dose is taken once daily in morning; patients should avoid an evening dose as it may keep them awake.
Important Facts About Qsymia
Do not use Qsymia if you have glaucoma, thyroid disease or use monoamine oxidase inhibitor drugs. If you have not lost a certain percent of your weight after 12 weeks, your doctor may decide to stop Qsymia treatment, but you may need to stop treatment slowly.
What Are the Most Common Side Effects with Qsymia?
- numbness or a tingling sensation
- unusual taste
- difficulty sleeping
- dry mouth
How Does Belviq Work in Weight Loss?
Belviq is approved to be used in the same two patients groups as Qsymia: either obese patients, or overweight patients with at least one weight-related condition. Patients taking Belviq should not exceed a dose of 10 mg two times a day. Exceeding the normal dose may lead to psychiatric side effects.
Belviq Safety Facts
There is the possibility of dangerous drug interactions with Belviq because it acts on the serotonin system in the brain. It is important to have a thorough drug interaction review with your doctor or pharmacist, reviewing over-the-counter, vitamin and prescription drugs, when you start Belviq and any time a new medication is added or stopped.
Common Side Effects with Belviq
- dry mouth
Belviq should not be used if you are pregnant because weight loss in pregnancy can be dangerous for the baby.
Alli: A Lower-Dose, OTC Version of Prescription Xenical
Alli: Use and Side Effects
Side effects with Alli often hinder its use: loose stools, oily spotting, gas, bowel incontinence, and rare liver injury may occur. Symptoms of liver injury include yellow skin or eyes, itching, brown urine and stomach pain.
Stimulant Weight Loss Drugs
Often, the weight that is lost with stimulants may be regained when the medication is stopped. In contrast, Alli, Belviq, and Qsymia are all approved for long-term use in weight loss.