font size


Weight Loss Drugs Prescription and OTC

Author:
Medical Author:

What are weight loss drugs and how do they work?

Taking a weight loss drug may not result in weight loss by itself. But using diet pills can help an overweight person stay on a diet because nearly all of these medications work on suppressing appetite. "Feeling full" is believed to be related to a number of biochemical processes in the body. Signals to indicate fullness come from fat cells and the gastrointestinal tract; these converge with signals in the central nervous system. Appetite suppressants target a couple of key neurotransmitters in this process: serotonin and norepinephrine. Increased levels of serotonin result in a feeling of fullness. Increasing norepinephrine levels stimulate the central nervous system, decreasing appetite. Only one drug among the weight loss medications works in a different way. Orlistat (Xenical, Alli) works in the gastrointestinal tract to prevent absorption of about a third of ingested fat.

Who is a good candidate for weight loss drugs?

Weight loss medications are best suited for those with BMIs of 27 or greater, when there is at least one other risk factor (such as diabetes or high cholesterol) present, or in patients with no other risk factors who have BMIs of 30 or greater. However these guidelines are not absolute. Physicians may avoid using certain prescription diet pills in patients with hypertension, cardiac disease, hyperthyroidism or glaucoma “ as well as in those with a history of drug abuse.




Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations