medical weight loss supplements

Medical Weight Loss Supplements: Do they work?

December 2. 2021

If you find yourself wondering how come there still can’t be found a magic weight loss pill that takes all the excess pounds away without you working a sweat – you’re not alone. But, no matter the number of new fad diets popping up every day, alleged magic pills, and even operations, a balanced diet and enough physical activity remain unbeatable in the weight loss run. 

However, with an ongoing obesity pandemic and the omnipresent sedentary lifestyle, it seems to be more challenging to lose weight now more than ever. Our weight loss clinic has worked with many clients who struggled with initiating weight loss – let alone getting to their ideal number on the scale and maintaining it. Some of them have tried using over-the-counter and other advertised weight loss supplements, but as you might expect, the results were either temporary or completely nonexistent. Besides lacking results, such weight loss tools may even cause harmful side effects and induce a risk for your health. On the other hand, you can find medical weight loss supplements that are FDA-approved, and such supplements can only be prescribed by medical experts and used according to their instructions.

Still, not everyone can be considered a candidate for taking medical weight loss supplements. For instance, doctors typically prescribe them only to patients with a BMI of 30 (and higher). In some instances, if your BMI is 27, but you also have a weight-related health condition, your physician may still find you suitable for taking these supplements. So far, only six weight loss supplements have been approved by the FDA; since all of them are different, your doctor will have to conduct a thorough medical examination and the history of health conditions that run in your family. Only then he’ll be able to prescribe a supplement that carries the least or no risk for your health while aiding the weight loss process itself. In case you’re not eligible to use medical weight loss supplements, you may consider using lipo C injections to kick-start your weight loss. To give you a better insight into available medical weight loss supplements, we’ve listed them below and explained their composition, weight-loss effect, and possible side effects:

  • Bupropion/Naltrexone is a combination drug. Bupropion is used as a quit-smoking aid and an antidepressant, while Naltrexone is typically used to treat opioid and alcohol dependence. It is approved for long-term use, but if you fail to lose at least 5% of your current weight after twelve weeks of use, it’s recommended you stop taking it. Some of the common side effects include a headache, nausea, constipation. However, this drug may cause seizures, so those who suffer from any form of seizure disorder should entirely avoid using it. 
  • Liraglutide for weight loss is essentially a higher dose of a well-known type 2 diabetes drug. Its purpose is to mimic an intestinal hormone that signals your brain that your stomach is full. It’s recommended for long-term use, but only if it helps you lose at least 4% of your starting weight in the first sixteen weeks of use. The most prominent side effect of Saxenda is nausea, but it may also cause stomach discomfort and low blood pressure.
  • Orlistat aids weight loss by disabling your body to absorb about a third of all the fats you consume. It is also available in a slightly milder form, and in that case, can be bought without a prescription. Its effect on the absorption of fat may make it difficult for your body to absorb some of the essential vitamins, which is why doctors always recommend you start taking a multivitamin supplement simultaneously. This drug also requires you to undergo a low-fat diet before you start taking it. Some of the common side effects include flatulence, loose stools, or cramps in the abdominal area.
  • Phentermine/Topiramate is a combination drug consisting of phentermine (a weight-loss drug) and topiramate (an anticonvulsant). Phentermine’s primary purpose is to curb your appetite, while the topiramate makes food taste less appealing and may help you burn more calories. Phentermine/Topiramate is approved for long-term use since the quantities of both components are significantly lower than when they’re given alone (it’s important to mention that phentermine acts like an amphetamine, and therefore has the potential to be abused). It’s expected you lose at least 3% of your initial weight during the first twelve weeks of using this drug; if that’s not the case, your doctor may increase your dose and prolong the therapy. 
  • Phentermine acts as an appetite suppressant, and it’s only approved for short-term use because it acts similar to amphetamines, so it carries a risk of drug dependence. Common side effects include dry mouth, stomach discomfort, and nausea, while severe side effects include high blood pressure, tremor, chest pain, and heart palpitations. Additionally, you may be interested in learning more about how to make phentermine more effective.
  • Semaglutide, is the youngest of all medical weight loss supplements; the FDA approved it in June 2021. Semaglutide works similar to Liraglutide, signaling your brain that your stomach is full. Its side effects include stomach discomfort, abdominal cramping, nausea, and fatigue. Although it is approved for long-term use, it should be accompanied by a low-calorie diet and physical activity.

How well do medical weight loss supplements work?

None of the above-listed medical weight loss supplements works like a magic pill by itself; they all require dietary changes and a certain amount of physical activity to be effective. Since they are FDA-approved, they won’t cause an instant or unhealthy weight loss for morbidly obese. Instead, you can expect to lose up to 10% of your initial weight more than you would otherwise without using the drugs. Such weight loss, which is also sustainable, can help you prevent numerous health conditions such as high blood pressure, sugar levels, or high triglyceride levels. Lastly, it’s essential you simultaneously work on establishing a healthy relationship with food and prevent going back to your previous unhealthy habits once you’re done with the therapy. 

Nurse Walton


Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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