Leading a healthy lifestyle is key to maintaining a healthy weight. However, for those struggling to manage their weight, a healthy diet and an exercise routine may not be enough. While there’s no such thing as a ‘miracle drug’, prescription weight loss medication could give you an extra push to achieve your healthy weight goals.
Of course, starting on medication isn’t a decision to be taken lightly and it’s good to consult a healthcare professional. For one, you’ll need a prescription from a doctor. The doctor will consider factors such as your lifestyle and medical history, to assess your suitability for these medications.
Here are the most common types of weight loss medication your doctor may prescribe you.
- How it works: Saxenda mimics the action of a hormone in our body, called GLP-1, which regulates our blood sugar levels and appetite. This helps you to feel full for longer and may also suppress your feelings of hunger.
- Who it’s suitable for: Saxenda is most suitable for individuals with BMI ≥30, who may also be at risk of chronic conditions. It can also be prescribed to children, aged 12 and above.
- Dosage: Taken once daily, administered with an injectable pen. This means you would have to be comfortable with doing a self-injection every day, as you’ll need to administer this on your own.
- Possible side effects: The most common side effect is nausea, which may improve after a few courses of the medication.
For a more in-depth look at Saxenda, you can read a longer explainer here.
- How it works: An appetite suppressant, Duromine works on the part of your brain that signals your hunger. Duromine is also a stimulant and may increase your metabolic rate.
- Who it’s suitable for: Duromine is typically prescribed for adults with BMI ≥30, who may also have risk factors for other chronic conditions. It may also be prescribed to children above the age of 12.
- Dosage: The usual dosage of Duromine is one capsule, taken orally, per day. You’ll typically take Duromine with your breakfast, as it could interfere with your sleep at night if you take it any later in the afternoon.
- Possible side effects: Individuals on Duromine may have trouble sleeping when they first start medication. Other common side effects include increased heart rate, feeling restless, and changes in your mood.
- How it works: Xenical is a lipase inhibitor that blocks some of the fat in the food that you’ve eaten from being absorbed by your body. As such, it helps to minimise weight gain for those who are taking it.
- Who it’s suitable for: Xenical is most suitable for adults with BMI ≥30 who also have associated risk factors of other chronic conditions, including hypertension, and diabetes.
- Dosage: Xenical is an oral tablet medication. Typically, it’s meant to be taken three times a day with your meals.
- Possible side effects: As Xenical works on your digestive system, it’s common to experience some stomach discomfort, bloating or even loose stools. Eating a diet that’s lower in fat may help with managing these side effects.
- How it works: Contrave is made up of two active drugs: naltrexone and bupropion. When you’re on Contrave, the medication suppresses your appetite while also helping to manage your food cravings. By doing so, individuals on Contrave tend to reduce their food consumption.
- Who it’s suitable for: Contrave is most suitable for adults with BMI ≥30 who also have associated risk factors of other chronic conditions, including hypertension, and diabetes. However, you should not use Contrave if you are pregnant, or have uncontrolled high blood pressure, seizures, opioid addictions (or are taking any other kinds of opioid medication).
- Dosage: Contrave is an oral tablet medication. Your doctor will start you on a lower dosage schedule first, before adjusting your dosage accordingly to ensure its effectiveness.
- Possible side effects: Common side effects are constipation, headaches, nausea and hair loss. Additionally, you may experience mood and behaviour changes, after taking Contrave. There is a small risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours, as Bupropion (one of the active ingredients) is an anti-depressant. If you notice any changes in your mental state, do let your doctor know immediately.
When starting on prescription medication, don’t forget to continue practising healthy habits, like eating well and moving more!
Get support with weight loss online, in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Video-call a licensed GP on the DA app for a weight loss consultation: our doctors will help you to identify the right approach for weight management and recommend an appropriate weight loss treatment for you.