Understanding Weight Loss Medication and Its Role in Obesity Management – Obesity management has seen massive changes over the past six decades. This transformation has culminated in the approval of six anti-obesity medications by the FDA for long-term obesity treatment. These medications are prescribed alongside lifestyle modifications to tackle being overweight and obesity in a manner akin to managing other chronic diseases.
Currently, medical guidelines stipulate that individuals who have diligently pursued lifestyle enhancements yet maintain a body mass index of ≥ 30 kg/m2 (around 6.14 lbs/ft2) or ≥ 27 kg/m2 (around 5.12 lbs/ft2) with obesity-related comorbidities are eligible candidates for weight loss medication treatment. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the particularities of weight loss medication and shed light on its role in
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The Role of Weight Loss Medication
Lifestyle modifications are the cornerstone of obesity management. However, they may not always yield the desired results for everyone. This is where weight loss medications come into play. These medications are meant to complement a healthy lifestyle and boost weight loss results, especially for individuals who have struggled with weight loss due to underlying biological factors.
Weight loss medications work through various mechanisms to help individuals shed excess pounds. They can reduce appetite by targeting gut and brain hormones or increasing metabolism. Some can also affect fat absorption in the intestine to reduce calorie intake or enhance insulin sensitivity to better regulate blood sugar levels.
Types and Brands of Weight Loss Medication
Obesity pharmacotherapy has evolved significantly, resulting in the FDA approving several weight loss medications for long-term obesity treatment. These medications can be categorized into different types, with the two major types discussed below.
GLP-1 Receptor Agonists
GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) receptor agonists target hormones involved in appetite regulation. Many individuals often confuse weight loss medications such as Saxenda vs Wegovy , but the two fall under the same category. Saxenda, also known as liraglutide, was the first GLP-1 agonist approved by the FDA for obesity treatment in 2014 and is taken daily. Wegovy, or semaglutide, gained FDA approval in 2021 and is administered weekly.
Both operate by impacting GLP-1 receptors to induce feelings of fullness, reduce cravings, and influence how calories are consumed and stored in the body. However, choosing these medications often hinges on factors such as medical history, insurance coverage, and patient preference.
Meanwhile, affecting both GLP-1 and GIP (gastric inhibitory polypeptide) receptors is a dual agonist called Mounjaro or tirzepatide . Initially approved for type 2 diabetes, it is expected to receive FDA approval for obesity treatment in 2023.
Mounjaro is administered via a weekly injection, commencing at 2.5 mg and escalating to a maximum dose of 15 mg. So far, tirzepatide’s dual mechanism of action has shown significant weight loss benefits, with some participants in clinical trials experiencing over 20% reduction in body weight.
Rules and Safety
Eligibility for weight loss medication should be determined through consultation with a healthcare provider. A thorough evaluation of an individual’s medical history, current health status, and potential contraindications is necessary to make informed decisions. Additionally, the effectiveness of weight loss medications can vary. While they offer valuable support in curbing cravings, reducing caloric intake, and
promoting feelings of fullness, their success is most pronounced when combined with a holistic approach to weight management. That is why our previous post on Metabolism Weight Loss Coach highlights the
pivotal role of a coach in tailoring strategies to an individual’s unique metabolic profile, needs, and goals. A coach’s objective perspective can help individuals set realistic goals and maintain focus. Additionally, they can offer insights into optimizing dietary choices, exercise regimens, and lifestyle modifications to align with an individual’s metabolic requirements alongside any medication intake.
A comprehensive understanding of the diverse types and brands of weight loss medications and the rules and restrictions governing their use is essential for both healthcare providers and patients. Ultimately, it’s a vital contribution to a holistic approach to obesity management that can eventually lead to more successful and sustainable weight loss journeys.