At Alevia Medical Weight Loss, we help patients to find the best dietary approach to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. We spend time during our Tools for Success Program, looking at the elements of a healthy diet - including nutritional elements such as protein, fats and carbohydrates. We encourage our patients to partake in an exercise program that suits their capabilities and look at the psychological aspects to weight gain such as emotional eating and managing stress. Lifestyle change is the cornerstone of any healthy weight management program. But what happens when lifestyle change alone is not enough and weight is causing significant health problems?
when should weight loss medications be used?
Weight loss medications may be used in patients who have a significant weight amount of weight to lose and lifestyle efforts have been largely unsuccessful:
- BMI > 30kg/m2 or above or
- BMI > 27kg/m2 and an obesity health related condition such as high blood pressure, sleep apnoea or diabetes.
They can also assist with prevention of weight regain, when patients have lost their weight, and there has been an increase in the appetite hormones that promote weight regain.
Weight loss medications may be helpful in patients who have had weight loss surgery and there has been some weight regain.
Always discuss your suitability for weight loss medications, including benefits and side effects with your Weight Loss Doctor or Pharmacist.
Liraglutide is registered for use in Australia for weight loss. Known as Saxenda, this is a medication that works in two ways - it works on the intestines and makes a person feel full and satisfied, so that overeating is hard to do, and it works directly on the appetite centre to reduce hunger and cravings. It is given as a subcutaneous injection usually into the tummy region.
Orlistat, known as Xenical, is a drug taken in tablet form that, when taken in combination with a healthy diet, can reduce absorption of fat and assist with weight loss. It is less commonly used these days as it doesn't affect a persons desire to eat or feeling of fullness and can cause some unpleasant side effects.
Contrave is a weight loss medication recently (Feb 2019) released in Australia. It is a combination of two medications also used for alcohol reduction and smoking cessation, and it was found the combination of these two medications, also works on the brain to reduce hunger and, not suprisingly, given it's other purposes, to help reduce cravings!
Phentermine, known as Duromine, is registered for use in Australia for weight loss. It is taken as a tablet and is an appetite suppressant that helps patients to overcome some of the natural hunger that makes weight loss difficult. Duromine can raise blood pressure and cause dry mouth, palpitations and may not be suitable for some patients.
Topiramate (Topamax) is a medication that is used for migraine and epilepsy prevention. It is widely used "off label" in the Obesity clinics in Australia and overseas for the management of obesity as it has also been found to have some appetite suppressing effects - patients who use this medication tend to feel full quickly and can't overeat.
Some diabetes medications help patients to feel full and satisfied after a meal. These include metformin and a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists - such as Byetta, Bydureon, Trulicity. These medications may be used to both treat diabetes and assist with weight loss.