The Skinny on Diet Medications

8.28.12  ( – New York, NY

health news digestRecently, the FDA approved two new weight loss medications (Belviq and Qysmia), and America breathed a sigh of relief. While weight loss drugs have always been a topic of controversy, over the years it has become clear that their addition to the dieting efforts of many individuals who struggle with obesity is extremely beneficial. And with more than onethird of Americans (35.7%) falling under the “obese” category, it is no surprise that medical alternatives to diet and exercise are needed to counteract the issue. Dr. Sue DeCotiis, New York City based Medical Internist and Weight Loss Management Specialist, outlines diet drugs that are either available or will be soon, and explains the chemical balances of the medications that promote weight loss.

“While there are potential side effects with every medication, long-term studies show that overweight patients do much better losing and keeping off weight when they are prescribed a weight-loss drug,” says Dr. DeCotiis. “Weight loss medications work in conjunction with healthy eating and exercise, and offer individuals a chance at a real lifestyle change. Those who suffer from obesity often have a host of other health problems that come with the condition. These drugs can alleviate those symptoms, and the result is that many of these patients will live longer and avoid the consequences of medical problems such as hypertension, stroke, and heart attack.”

Contrave (Bupropion Naltrexone)

This drug works by combining two active ingredients that have been used for over twenty years. With Bupropion initiating the weight loss, Naltrexone sustains it by preventing the body’s natural tendency to counteract efforts to lose weight. The result of this combination is to reduce appetite and increase the body’s metabolism, giving those who are suffering from obesity-related illnesses the ability to sustain continued weight loss by addressing the portion of the brain that controls food cravings.

Belviq (Locaserin)

Approved by the FDA in late June of this year, this medication works by activating a receptor in the brain that helps a person to eat less and still feel full. By regulating the appetite, it lowers the likelihood of individuals overeating. It works best in patients who suffer from weight-related conditions, such as high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. At least 47.5% of patients lost at least 5% of their body weight from the medication, as opposed to 20.3% who took a placebo during a trial study period.

Qsymia (Phentermine Topirmate)

This combination of the drugs phentermine (an appetite suppressant and stimulant) and topiramate (an anticonvulsant with weight loss side effects) is the most recent of the crop of weight loss medications that have been approved by the FDA. Drugs in this category are primarily considered appetite suppressants. With the medication producing dramatic weight loss in patients, this is one of the clearest signs of hope for those suffering from obesity-related diseases. About half of the patients lost 10% of their body weight, and four-fifths lost 5%.

“Weight loss medications work by providing patients the ability to have better eating habits and more energy for exercising, which are the hallmarks of any successful diet plan,” says Dr. DeCotiis. “Some of these drugs have been present since the 1950s in certain forms, and are only getting better with time. The goal of any weight loss specialist is to alleviate the negative conditions and symptoms that go hand in hand with obesity. These drugs give professionals a fighting chance to provide a better life for those individuals who suffer from such medical problems.

At Manhattan Medical Weight Loss Physician, our main goal is to promote healthy lifestyles by combining different strategies and specific plans for each person, and monitoring our patients closely. Weight loss drugs are a great tool in the fight against obesity; but as with any medication, you need to consult your doctor and make sure that whatever you take is right for you.”