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Top 5 Weight Loss Medications: Wegovy and Other Medicines

Top 5 Weight Loss Medications: Wegovy and Other Medicines

by Everly Allen 3 Apr 2024

Obesity is a growing concern globally, posing weight-related medical problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Many people struggle to shed excess weight despite efforts to adopt healthier lifestyles. Weight-loss medications have become a promising remedy for chronic weight management. While a reduced-calorie diet and exercise remain fundamental, weight-loss drugs provide an additional tool in the battle against obesity.

What are the most popular weight-loss medications? How do they work? Is this method of weight reduction safe? Keep reading our exploration to get all the answers.

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Woman Weight Loss after medications

Why Does Obesity Occur?

Excessive weight, or obesity, is a widespread health concern caused by genetics, lifestyle choices, underlying medical conditions, psychological factors, and environmental influences.

If one or both parents are obese, there’s a higher likelihood of their children also becoming obese. Unhealthy eating habits, such as consuming high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, and sedentary behavior like prolonged sitting or lack of physical activity, can contribute to weight gain over time. Emotions, stress, depression, and other psychological factors can influence eating habits. People may turn to food for comfort or as a coping mechanism during stress or emotional distress.

Certain health problems or medications can contribute to weight gain. Hormonal imbalance or issues with endocrine system condition, such as hypothyroidism, can slow down metabolism and lead to extra pounds. Additionally, medications like some antidepressants (mao inhibitors) and corticosteroids may cause an increase in body mass as a side effect.

Overall, addressing obesity often requires a multifaceted approach that includes lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, increased physical activity, and sometimes medical interventions such as weight loss medications or bariatric surgery.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Weight-Loss Medication?

Candidates typically have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, indicating obesity, or a BMI of 27 or higher with weight-related medical problems such as elevated blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Potential patients have made concerted efforts to lose weight through lifestyle changes, including adopting a reduced-calorie diet and increasing physical activity, but have not achieved the desired results.

Candidates provided medical history with underlying medical conditions that may contribute to weight gain.

What Are the Most Popular Weight-Loss Medications?

When it comes to weight-loss medications, several options have gained popularity for their effectiveness. Here are the top five weight loss drugs.

#1. Wegovy

Wegovy is a diabetes medication that has shown significant promise in aiding weight loss. It works by mimicking the effects of the hormone GLP-1, which helps regulate appetite and food intake. Wegovy has been found to lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in people who are obese or overweight.

#2. Ozempic

Ozempic is another GLP-1 receptor agonist, like Wegovy. It is primarily used to treat diabetes, type 2. However, Ozempic has also been found to aid in weight loss by reducing appetite and promoting a feeling of fullness. This drug additionally helps improve blood sugar and other weight-related health conditions.

#3. Saxenda

Saxenda is a weight-loss drug that results in decreased appetite and lower calorie intake, leading to slimming down. It is prescribed alongside a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise for optimal results.

#4. Mounjaro

Mounjaro is used like diabetes medications to improve sugar levels in the blood. It acts similarly to Saxenda and Wegovy, enhancing insulin production and reducing appetite. Mounjaro has been found to promote weight loss as a secondary effect. It is a valuable tool for glycemic management, making Mounjaro typically prescribed diabetes medications.

#5. Adipex

Adipex, also known by its generic name phentermine, is a medication that suppresses appetite. It is commonly used for short-term weight management. It works by stimulating the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that control hunger and cravings.

How Can Patients Take These Medications to Lose Weight?

The dosage of each medication is set by the doctor. Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Saxenda are administered through the pre-filled pen. Saxenda is injected once a day, and other drugs — once a week. Typically, users start with a lower dose and gradually increase to a higher dose over time. Only Adipex is taken orally in the form of tablets. Patients should take it once daily at the same time. Always consult health care providers to determine the most suitable medication based on individual needs.

How Do Weight-Loss Medications Work?

Anti-obesity medications, like Saxenda or Ozempic, work through various mechanisms to help users lose weight effectively and safely. Let’s delve into how each of the top five weigh-loss medications functions and their active ingredient:

  • Semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic) belongs to a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. These drugs mimic the effects of a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1, which regulates appetite and food intake. Semaglutide helps individuals to feel full sooner and for longer periods. Its injections improve blood sugar, making it beneficial for diabetes or prediabetes treatment.
  • Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is similar to semaglutide. It enhances the activity of GLP-1 receptors in the brain, resulting in reduced appetite and increased feelings of fullness.
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda) shares the same mechanism of action as semaglutide and tirzepatide. While it helps to control insulin and the feeling of satiety, this medication helps lose weight and lower cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Phentermine (Adipex) isn’t similar to the active ingredients mentioned above. It is a sympathomimetic amine and works by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, which suppress appetite and increase energy expenditure. However, it is typically recommended for short-term use due to the potential for tolerance and dependence.

What Are the Contraindications for Ozempic and Other Medications?

Weight-loss drugs like Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Saxenda, and Adipex should not be used in individuals with a personal or family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type (MEN2). These medications may increase the risk of thyroid tumors, including medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).

Individuals with diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes affecting the eyes, should use weight-reduction medications with caution and under the supervision of a healthcare provider. These medications may impact and potentially worsen such conditions.

Other conditions when weigh-loss drugs shouldn’t be taken:

  • known hypersensitivity and allergies to ingredients of these drugs;
  • gastrointestinal disorders;
  • thyroid disorders;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • renal impairment;
  • gallbladder problems.

Ozempic and other drugs that help lose weight should not be used during pregnancy due to a lack of information about the impact on the unborn baby.

Most of these medications are not approved by the FDA’s center for use in children and adolescents under 18. However, there are exceptions, such as Saxenda, which FDA approves for adolescents aged 12-17 with obesity.

Are Possible Side Effects of Weight-Loss Medications?

Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal discomfort are the most common side effects of such types of medications. These symptoms may be mild to moderate and often improve over time as the body adjusts to the medication.

Some individuals may experience a serious allergic reaction to these medications. Typical symptoms are swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, trouble swallowing or breathing, and severe rash or itching. Contact your doctor for medical help immediately. The risk of allergic reactions can be minimized by a thorough discussion of health conditions during a consultation with healthcare professionals. Patients are encouraged to undergo a drug evaluation test to assess their response to the medicine and ensure its compatibility with their physiology.

There is a potential risk of side effects on the endocrine system condition, including the development of thyroid cancer or thyroid tumors. A thorough discussion with doctors helps avoid a greater risk of complications.

Medications for losing a few pounds (kilos) may interact with other drugs and supplements, potentially leading to adverse effects or reduced efficacy. Inform healthcare providers about all medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, before treatment.

Patients should discuss possible side effects of fat-burning medications with their doctors. If any serious allergic reaction, trouble swallowing, or other severe effects occur report promptly for further evaluation and management. Regular follow-up appointments are essential to safety and efficacy, ensuring reduced risk of side effects.

How Much Do Wegovy or Other Drugs for Losing Excess Weight?

The price of diabetes medications fluctuates based on several factors, including insurance coverage, pharmacy location, and dosage. An injectable anti-obesity drug may range from $1000 to $1350 for a month’s supply if not covered by insurance. Meanwhile, Adipex falls between $30 and $60. Despite insurance coverage, obesity drugs may have a high cost for patients. Thus, it’s important to explore coverage options and discuss affordability with healthcare providers.

Final Words

Weight-loss drugs: Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Saxenda, and Adipex, offer a promising solution to fight back obesity and regulate sugar levels in the blood. However, patients should combine them with a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise to achieve desired results. These medications are an effective tool for weight management. They assist with metabolic issues in the body, resulting in slimming down. Discuss with your doctor which medication is the most suitable for your health condition.

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