Weight loss medications

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Commonly used weight loss medications

W8MD weight loss, sleep and medspa team
  • Phentermine/topiramate One of the most popular weight loss combinations, phentermine/topiramate is a combination medication that works by suppressing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. It is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or in those with a BMI of 27 or higher who also have weight-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Studies have shown that phentermine/topiramate can lead to significant weight loss, and may also improve other health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Phentermine is an FDA-approved medication that is used as an appetite suppressant for weight loss. It works by stimulating the release of certain chemicals in the brain that control appetite, making you feel less hungry. Phentermine is typically prescribed for short-term use as part of a comprehensive weight loss program that includes diet and exercise. Phentermine is usually taken in the morning, either with or without food. The dose and duration of treatment depend on the individual's needs and response to the medication. Common side effects of phentermine include dry mouth, nausea, constipation, and difficulty sleeping. Serious side effects are rare but may include high blood pressure, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Phentermine is a controlled substance due to its potential for abuse and dependence. It should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider who can monitor its effects on your weight loss progress and overall health.
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  • Diethylpropion is an appetite suppressant used as a short-term treatment for obesity. It works by reducing the appetite and food intake, leading to weight loss. It is available in immediate-release and extended-release formulations, with the extended-release form designed to be taken once a day. Diethylpropion is a Schedule IV controlled substance in the United States, indicating that it has a low potential for abuse and dependence compared to other controlled substances. The recommended dose of diethylpropion is 25mg three times a day taken before meals. It should not be taken in the evening as it can cause insomnia. It is not recommended for people with a history of drug abuse or dependence, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, or severe high blood pressure. Other potential side effects include dry mouth, headache, increased heart rate, and elevated blood pressure.
  • Phendimetrazine Phendimetrazine is a prescription medication that works as an appetite suppressant. It is often used in combination with diet and exercise to promote weight loss in individuals who are obese or overweight. Phendimetrazine is a stimulant and can have side effects such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and insomnia.
  • Plenity Formerly known as Gelesis100, Plenity is a weight loss drug that is designed to help people feel full after eating less food. It is a superabsorbent hydrogel that is taken orally with water before meals. Once in the stomach, it expands and forms a gel-like substance that slows down the emptying of the stomach and makes the person feel full. The gel is then eliminated from the body naturally. Plenity has been shown to be effective in reducing body weight and improving metabolic health in clinical studies.
  • Semaglutide (Wegovy) Semaglutide is a new once a week weight loss injection that is approved for weight loss. Over the 68-week period (duration is longer due to long titration schedule), adults taking Wegovy lost an average of 35 lbs (15.9 kg), or about 15% of their body weight. Ozempic, a different brand name of the same medication was approved for use in individuals with type 2 diabetes, but has also been studied for its potential weight loss effects. It works by regulating the body's appetite and blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that taking semaglutide can lead to significant weight loss in overweight individuals, and may also improve other health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Contrave (Naltrexone/bupropion) is a prescription weight loss medication that is sold under the brand name Contrave. It is a combination of two drugs: naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, and bupropion, which is used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder. Naltrexone/bupropion works by reducing appetite and food cravings while also increasing the feeling of fullness. It is believed to work by targeting specific areas of the brain that control hunger and eating behavior. Naltrexone/bupropion is prescribed for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, or for those with a BMI of 27 or greater with a weight-related health condition such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda) Liraglutide is an injectable weight loss medication that is used to treat obesity and improve metabolic health. It works by mimicking the effects of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is produced naturally in the body and helps to regulate appetite, food intake, and glucose metabolism. Liraglutide helps to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness, leading to a decrease in food intake and weight loss. It has been shown to be effective in reducing body weight and improving metabolic health in clinical studies.
  • Orlistat (Xenical) Orlistat is a prescription medication that works by blocking the absorption of fat in the intestine. It is approved for use in adults and adolescents over the age of 12, and is often used in combination with diet and exercise to promote weight loss. Studies have shown that orlistat can lead to significant weight loss, and may also improve other health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Setmelanotide Setmelanotide is a newer medication that is approved for use in individuals with rare genetic disorders that affect the body's appetite and metabolism. It works by regulating the body's melanocortin system, which may help promote weight loss. Early studies have shown promising results, but more research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness.
  • Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) The FDA is expected to approve tirzepatide for weight loss in 2023. In clinical trials found patients lost an average of 22.5% of their body weight on the drug in about a year on the diabetes studies. Currently it is being studied and fast tracked by the FDA for weight loss, given the excellent weight loss results on diabetes trials. Tirzepatide is a newer medication that works by regulating the body's glucose and appetite systems. It is still undergoing clinical trials, but early results have shown promise in promoting significant weight loss. Tirzepatide is given by injection and may have side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

Less commonly used and experimental drugs

  • Benzphetamine Benzphetamine is an appetite suppressant used in the treatment of obesity. It belongs to a class of drugs known as sympathomimetic amines, which work by decreasing the appetite and increasing the metabolic rate. Benzphetamine is only available by prescription and is typically used for short-term weight loss management.
  • Bupropion/zonisamide Bupropion/zonisamide is a combination medication that has been approved for weight loss in adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. It works by suppressing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. Bupropion/zonisamide is taken in pill form once daily.
  • Bupropion Bupropion is an antidepressant medication that has been shown to have appetite suppressant properties. It is sometimes used off-label as a weight loss aid, although it is not specifically approved for this use. Bupropion works by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which can help reduce food cravings.
  • Cetilistat Cetilistat is a medication used for weight loss that works by blocking the absorption of fat in the intestines. It is used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise plan. Cetilistat is not currently approved for use in the United States but has been approved in Japan and Europe.
  • Dexfenfluramine Dexfenfluramine is a medication that was used for weight loss in the 1990s. It works by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, which can help reduce appetite. However, it was later found to be associated with an increased risk of heart valve disease and was withdrawn from the market.
  • Dirlotapide Dirlotapide is a medication used for weight loss in dogs. It works by decreasing the amount of fat absorbed by the intestines and increasing the metabolic rate. Dirlotapide is only available by prescription and is typically used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.
  • Etiocholanedione Etiocholanedione is a naturally occurring hormone that has been studied for its potential use as a weight loss aid. It works by increasing the metabolic rate and reducing appetite. However, further research is needed to fully understand its effects on weight loss.
  • Fenbutrazate Fenbutrazate is a medication used for weight loss that works by increasing the metabolic rate and decreasing appetite. It is not currently approved for use in the United States but has been approved in some other countries. 
  • Lorcaserin Lorcaserin is an oral weight loss medication that is used to treat obesity and improve metabolic health. It works by activating a specific receptor in the brain that helps to regulate appetite and food intake. Lorcaserin helps to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness, leading to a decrease in food intake and weight loss. It has been shown to be effective in reducing body weight and improving metabolic health in clinical studies.
  • Fluasterone Fluasterone is an experimental weight loss drug that is being studied for its potential to reduce body weight and improve insulin resistance. It is a steroid hormone precursor that is converted to the androgen hormones in the body, which can promote fat loss and increase muscle mass. Fluasterone is believed to work by increasing the activity of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) enzyme, which helps to regulate cellular energy metabolism. While studies on fluasterone are still in the early stages, it has shown promising results in reducing body weight in animal studies.
  • Mitratapide Mitratapide is a weight loss medication that is used to treat obesity in dogs. It works by inhibiting an enzyme called microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP), which is responsible for the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine. By blocking the absorption of dietary fat, mitratapide helps to reduce body weight in overweight and obese dogs. It has been shown to be effective in reducing body weight in clinical studies.
  • Obocell Obocell is an experimental weight loss drug that is being studied for its potential to reduce body weight and improve metabolic health. It works by targeting a specific receptor in the brain that helps to regulate appetite and food intake. Obocell is believed to work by activating this receptor and reducing appetite, leading to a decrease in food intake and weight loss. While studies on Obocell are still in the early stages, it has shown promising results in reducing body weight in animal studies.
  • Prohibitin-targeting peptide 1 Prohibitin-targeting peptide 1 is a newer medication that is still undergoing clinical trials. It works by targeting the body's mitochondrial system, which may help promote weight loss. Early studies have shown promising results, but more research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness.
  • Tesofensine Tesofensine is a medication that is still undergoing clinical trials. It works by regulating the body's dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin systems, which may help promote weight loss. Early studies have shown promising results, but more research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness.
  • Vabicaserin Vabicaserin is a medication that is still undergoing clinical trials. It works by regulating the body's serotonin system, which may help promote weight loss. Early studies have shown promising results, but more research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness.

How can W8MD help?

If you're looking for a physician who can prescribe weight loss medications, consider visiting W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep and MedSpa. W8MD offers a comprehensive weight loss program that includes prescription weight loss medications including the new weight loss injections. The W8MD program is led by trained obesity medicine physicians and uses a multidisciplinary approach to help patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If you're struggling with weight loss and are interested in exploring medication options, consider visiting W8MD for a consultation.

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W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep & Medspa Centers is a network of medical centers located in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and surrounding areas that provide comprehensive care for weight loss, sleep disorders, and aesthetic treatments.

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  1. Brooklyn, NY: NYC medical weight loss, sleep and medspa: 2632 E 21st St., Suite L2, Brooklyn, NY 11235 Contact: (718)946-5500
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