Weight Loss Medications Compared

There are 5 FDA approved weight loss medications: orlistat, lorcaserin, naltrexone-buproprion, phnterimine-topiramate and liraglutide. There are not many research trials comparing these medications. In the June 2016 JAMA issue the medications were compared. The research trials are difficult to do because close to 40% of patients drop out, and thus it's very difficult to apply the groups to an individual patient. At Women's Health Practice we have many patients who have lost in the 30-80 pound range, and some have accomplished their weight loss in 6 months. Although individual patients can lose significant amounts of weight more than what is reported in these studies, as a group most research trials show that these medications help women, average age of 45, lose about 5% of weight over 52 weeks of weight management plan. The process is a slow and laborious, as many individuals need to lose significantly more than that to achieve a heart healthy weight.. However, this pace of weight loss is achievable for a wide range of patients on a wide range of meal plans. Realistically patients on this pace of dieting also are able to celebrate holidays without the set backs that might occur with other types of weight loss. Studies that also include other weight management strategies such as adding metformin or statins or that address hormonal issues such as PCOS can achieve even more success. The placebo group only has about 23% of patients losing at least 5% at the one year mark, where as medication use is associated with at least 75% of patients losing at least 5%. None of these studies have included a group that used CoolSculpting or Kybella treatments to enhance weight loss efforts, which is another strategy those watching their weight can utilize.


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