Weight loss medication 101

Feb 17, 2020 | juliajurgensen | @juliajurgensen

Exercise equipment with salad and prescription pad

Making health lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, are a part of nearly every weight loss journey. But in some cases, patients struggle to lose weight through lifestyle changes alone. The information below outlines the basics of weight loss medications to help you determine if medication is an option to help you meet your goals.

Determining if medications are an option

Doctors will consider weight-loss medications for you if you have a certain body mass index (BMI), doctors may consider weight-loss medications. Medication is an option for patients who have a BMI:

  • Greater than 30
  • Greater than 27 with serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol

Finding the right medication

Multiple medications are available, and 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.

Continuing your wellness journey

Weight loss medications are a tool to assist weight loss but are not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Even if you start a weight loss medication, you will need to continue your journey to create health diet and exercise habits.

Monitoring your medication

Your medical provider will need to see you regularly to ensure that:

  • The medication is effective
  • You are tolerating the medication without significant side effects
  • 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.

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