When you’re addicted to food, it can be hard to find motivation to lose weight. But with the aid of medication, you can finally get rid of that excess poundage.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved three drugs for use in treating obesity: rimonabant, bupropion, and naltrexone. Drug manufacturers recommend these medications for use in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. In this article, you’ll discover the various ways these drugs work and how you can use them to shed those extra five pounds.
Rimonabant is an oral medication that was developed to treat psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The drug prevents the absorption of food within 15 minutes of consumption. As a result, you’re significantly less likely to engage in food cravings or binge eat while on the medication. Studies have shown that rimonabant can reduce food intake by about a third, with some patients reporting weight loss of up to 10 pounds in just four weeks.
If you’re interested in trying rimonabant, be sure to consult your doctor and get a warning label on food allergies or sensitivities. Because of its mechanism of action, the FDA places this medication in the unsafe product category, advising that patients take it in conjunction with a meal and refrain from consuming any food or drink within 15 minutes of taking the medication. Further investigation is needed to establish whether large doses could cause significant health problems.
Bupropion (Buproprion HS)
Bupropion is an over-the-counter medication that’s been popularized as a smoking cessation aid. But that’s not all it is; the drug has been found to have multiple uses in treating depression, anxiety disorders, and obesity. The medication increases the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s associated with pleasure and reward.
Bupropion has been shown to increase metabolic rate and decrease food intake, resulting in weight loss. Several studies have shown that it can lead to as much as four to seven pounds of weight loss in just six months. Unfortunately, the medication can have unpleasant side effects, the most serious of which include seizures and suicidal thoughts. Patients taking this medication should be monitored closely by a medical professional.
Naltrexone is a prescription medication that was initially designed to treat heroin addiction. The medication inhibits the activity of the opioid receptors in the brain, which are the same receptors that heroin acts upon to produce its narcotic effects. Just like heroin, naltrexone can cause symptoms of addiction such as euphoria, dizziness, and drowsiness, but these side effects are generally mild and go away after a while. Naltrexone can also cause severe allergic reactions in some patients, which may lead to anaphylactic shock. While the drug has been found to be effective in treating obesity, it should not be used in place of eating healthy food and getting enough exercise.
How They Work Together
Taking a medication to treat obesity doesn’t mean that you have to give up food or exercise. It just means that you have to approach these things in a different way. When combining medications with a healthy diet and exercise, the goal is for the medications to relieve weight loss symptoms and allow you to better manage your diet and life in general. Studies have found that when patients take all three medications together, the weight loss is greater and more sustained than when patients take one of the medications alone.
As a result of this additive effect, the FDA has approved the combination of these medications for use in treating obesity. The combination therapy is effective in lowering body mass index (BMI) and preventing weight gain due to a high-fat diet or lack of exercise. Studies have also shown that patients who take all three medications report enhanced feelings of well-being and decrease their feelings of depression and anxiety.
What is the Average Treatment Effect?
Now that you’re equipped with an understanding of the drugs available for treating obesity, it’s important to consider how effective these medications are. Not all obese people will lose weight the same way, and the same is true for the medications available to treat them. This means that not all patients will benefit from these drugs in the same way.
To understand the average treatment effect (ATE) of a particular drug, you need to consider the following factors: the average weight loss of those taking the drug, what percent of patients experienced side effects, and whether or not the drug was effective in treating obesity in the first place. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to consult your doctor and ask him to suggest a suitable medication for you based on your medical history.
Risks and Side Effects
While the benefits of the medications discussed above are apparent, it’s important to remember that they’re still drugs. This means that as with any medication, there are risks associated with taking them. The most serious of these are listed below.
- Dangers to unborn babies: Women taking bupropion while pregnant have been known to have seizures and other adverse effects in their unborn babies. The medication should be avoided by pregnant women if possible.
- Cardiovascular risks: The three medications discussed above are known to cause elevated blood pressure and other related cardiovascular risks. The chance for these risks increases if you have cardiovascular disease or risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, or family history of cardiovascular disease. These risks must be considered when prescribing these medications and patients should be monitored regularly for signs of cardiovascular disease.
- Seizures: All three medications discussed above are known to cause seizures in some patients. The chance for this increased if you have a history of seizures or are planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. Patients should be warned about the risk of seizures when taking these medications and should be monitored closely by a neurologist or other qualified healthcare provider.
- Dependence: The three medications discussed above are all addictive, with some patients developing a psychological dependence on them. This should not be ignored and patients should be warned about the risk of becoming dependent on these medications.
- Overdose: The risk of overdose increases with increased dosage or use of more than one of these medications. Taking too much of any of these medications can cause severe side effects such as allergic reactions, respiratory depression, or death. Patients should be monitored closely for signs of respiratory or cardiac depression if they are taking more than the recommended dose of any of these medications.
As you can see, the risks associated with these medications are considerable, especially when compared to the potential benefits. For this reason, these medications should only be prescribed to patients who really need them and who are at least 18 years old.
Who is Eligible for These Drugs?
As mentioned above, the Food and Drug Administration has approved these medications for use in treating obesity. However, not all people who take these medications will experience benefits. The following factors determine whether or not you’re an appropriate candidate for treatment with these drugs:
- You must have a BMI above 30
- You must not have tried other diets to lose weight
- You must not have suffered from eating disorders in the past
- You must not be currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- You must not be breastfeeding
- You must not have a history of drug or alcohol addiction
- You must have at least two of the following conditions: hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
If you meet the criteria listed above, a doctor may prescribe you one of the medications discussed above. But you should keep in mind that these medications are still drugs, and like any medication, there are risks associated with taking them. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re an appropriate candidate for treatment with one of these medications, be sure to consult your doctor before taking them.