While weight management is mostly about healthy lifestyle changes (such as eating a balanced diet), we may need a little more support to hit our weight goals. If you’re having difficulties with weight loss, a GP may prescribe you weight loss medication to help you with the process.
Weight loss medication isn’t a magic pill, and it won’t instantly help you shed weight. To dispel the misconceptions we may have, we check in with Dr Andrew Fang on what we should know about weight loss medication and how they work.
How does weight loss medication work?
“There are three main types of weight loss medication,” says Dr Andrew. Your doctor will be able to advise on which type of medication is most suitable for you, after considering your medical history and lifestyle habits.
The first type of medication is the appetite suppressant. “Like the name suggests, these types of medication help to suppress your appetite. By doing so, you won’t feel as hungry and may not eat as much,” shares Dr Andrew. Examples of appetite suppressants are Saxenda and Duromine.
“Next, there are the ‘fat absorption inhibitors’, such as Xenical. These medications would reduce the amount of fats absorbed from your meals,” explains Dr Andrew. “You’ll usually take a tablet near your mealtimes.”
“Lastly, there are combination medications, which work on different parts of weight management,” says Dr Andrew. “For example, you have Contrave, which helps to suppress your appetite while controlling your food cravings.”
Apart from how they work, weight loss medication is also administered in two different ways.
- Oral pills (i.e. Contrave, Duromine, Xenical): “These are similar to your typical medication, where you just swallow them down with a bit of water, once or twice daily.”
- Injectables (i.e. Saxenda): “These can be a bit more intimidating for someone new, as you’ll need to inject yourself with the medication.”
Do I need to see a doctor to get weight loss medication?
“Yes, you’ll have to consult a doctor to be prescribed weight loss medication,” shares Dr Andrew. This is because weight loss medication may not be suitable for everyone, depending on your age, BMI, as well as other underlying health conditions.
During the consultation, your doctor will take some basic measurements, such as your height and weight. You’ll also be asked to share more about your health condition and family medical history.
“This will help your doctor assess if weight loss medication is safe and suitable for you,” emphasises Dr Andrew. “Your doctor will work with you to design a treatment plan that is tailored to you, to help you reach your weight goals.”
Is taking weight loss medication a sure-fire way to lose weight?
Even with weight loss medication, there are no shortcuts to losing weight.
“Weight loss medication has to be paired with healthy lifestyle changes for you to effectively lose weight,” shares Dr Andrew. “You’ll have to adopt better eating habits as well as incorporate sufficient physical activity into your daily routine.”
About the Doctor Anywhere app
Need support with weight management?
Reach out to an expert doctor anytime over the DA app, for medical advice. We’ll be able to provide you with recommendations on whether you’re suitable for weight loss medication; and will work with you to put together a game plan that will help you achieve your health goals.