Is a Weight Loss Medication Right for You?
Written by Julia Jurgensen, a Mayo Clinic nurse practitioner.
Your doctor may consider weight-loss drugs for you if you have not been able to lose weight through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
In addition to not being able to lose weight with lifestyle changes, you need to meet one of the following:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30.
- Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.
Additionally, before selecting a medication for you, your doctor will consider your health history, possible drug side effects and potential interactions with medications you're already taking. It is also important to note that weight-loss drugs are not for everyone. For example, women who are pregnant, nursing or trying to become pregnant should not take weight loss medications.
If you are started on a weight loss medication then the lifestyle changes of diet and exercise will need to be continued while on the weight loss medication as the medications are a tool to assist weight loss but are not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
Your medical provider will need to see you regularly to ensure that the medication is effective, ensure you are tolerating the medication without significant side effects and you are continuing dietary and exercise changes. Additionally, the weight loss medication dose may need to be adjusted overtime and/or you may need to be on the medication long term. Therefore, when considering a weight loss medication you need to consider the time commit of lifestyle changes and clinic appointments.