Font Size
A
A
A
...
5
...

Medication in the Treatment of Obesity (cont.)

Risks and Benefits of Weight-Loss Medications

The possible benefits of these drugs in the short term include weight loss, which may lower the risk of some obesity-related health problems. Whether these drugs actually improve a person's health over the long term is not known.

The risks include the side effects, which vary from drug to drug (see next section).

  • Side effects are especially a concern in patients who may be healthy other than their obesity.
  • Other concerns include the potential for abuse of the drugs (all except Xenical are controlled substances).
  • People taking these drugs often find that their weight loss tapers off after four to six months. This is usually attributed to development of tolerance, in other words that the medication has reached its limit of effectiveness. The drugs are being studied to see if tolerance really does occur.

To ensure your safety, before you start taking one of these drugs, be sure to let your health care professional know if you have any of the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart disease or heart condition, such as irregular heartbeat
  • Eating disorder, past or present
  • Depression or bipolar disorder ("manic depression"), past or present
  • Alcohol, drug, or other substance abuse, past or present
  • Migraine headaches requiring medication
  • Planning to have surgery that requires general anesthesia
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or antidepressants now or within last two weeks
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Medication in the Treatment of Obesity

Obesity
Obesity More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, including at least one in five children. Nearly one-third are obese. Obesity is on the rise in our society ...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Medication in the Treatment of Obesity:

Medication in the Treatment of Obesity - Effective Medications

Which medications have helped you to lose weight?

Medication in the Treatment of Obesity - Side Effects

What side effects, if any, did you experience with your weight-loss medication?





Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Obesity »

Obesity is a substantialpublic-health crisis in the United States and in the rest of the developed world.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Find Your Best Self: Discover new ways to live an inspiring life through beauty, diet, and fitness ideas.

Medical Dictionary