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Are there drugs that can reduce obesity? – Part 2

Introduction to Obesity

• Obesity and overweight are common conditions.
• Obesity may be defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
• It is a medical condition in which excess body fat builds up to the extent that the health of the individual becomes affected.
• It is becoming increasingly common in both men and women especially in Western developed nations, including Australia and US.
• This exerts significant financial pressure on health care systems.
• Obesity is usually not caused by a single factor.

Do Prescription Weight Loss Drugs Really Work?

• In general, Xenical and Meridia are moderately effective, leading to an average weight loss of 5 to 22 pounds over a 1 year period.
• The response to these medications is based on each individual.
• Some people experience more weight loss than others.
• There is not one correct dose for these medications.
• Your doctor will decide what works best for you based on his or her evaluation of your medical condition.
• Some people have lost more than 10% of their initial body weight with the help of prescription medications.
• This is a large enough amount to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and other obesity-related health complications.
• Patients generally experience a maximum weight loss within 6 months of starting medication treatment.
• Weight loss due to prescription drugs may reduce a number of health risks in obese individuals.

Are There Risks to Taking These Medications?

When considering the use of long-term weight-loss medication treatment for obesity, the following possible concerns and risks should be discussed with your doctor:
1. Addiction
• All prescription medications to treat obesity except Xenical are “controlled substances”.
• This means that doctors are required to follow certain restrictions when prescribing them.
• This is since they could be addictive.

2. Developed tolerance
• Most people’s weight tends to level off after 6 months while taking a weight-loss medication.
• This leads to a concern that the person has developed a tolerance for the medication.

3. Side effects
• Most side effects of weight loss medications are mild.
• They usually improve as your body adjusts to the medication.
• Rarely, serious and even fatal outcomes have been reported.

What Are the Side Effects?

• Increased heart rate
• Increased blood pressure
• Sweating
• Constipation
• Insomnia (inability to sleep or stay asleep)
• Excessive thirst
• Lightheadedness
• Drowsiness
• Stuffy nose
• Headache
• Anxiety
• Dry mouth

If any of the following symptoms occur while taking Xenical, you should call your doctor as soon as possible:
• Achiness
• Chills
• Irregular heartbeat
• Painful menstruation
• Swelling of the body or of the feet and ankles

You should tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions before taking any drug for obesity:
• Diabetes
• High blood pressure
• Heart disease
• Epilepsy (seizures)
• Kidney disease
• Glaucoma
• Alcohol or drug abuse (or a history of)
• Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
• Depression or other mental illness
• Migraine headaches requiring medication
• Planning to have surgery requiring general anesthesia

Other Precautions while taking Xenical or Meridia?

• Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
• Do not take any more or less medicine than prescribed and do not take it more often than prescribed.
• If you miss a dose, simply take it as soon as possible.
• Do not take a double dose.
• These medications should be kept in their original container, tightly sealed and away from children.
• They should be stored at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture.
• Any medication that is outdated or unused should be thrown away.

Alli Weight-Loss Aid Nutrition: Everyday Choices Eating Disorders and Obesity

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