ORLISTAT (XENICAL AND ALLI)
Orlistat works by slowing the absorption of fat in the intestine by about 30%. It is approved for long-term use.
About 6 pounds can be lost when using this medicine. But not everyone loses weight while taking it. Many people regain most of the weight within 2 years after they stop using it.
The most unpleasant side effect of orlistat is oily diarrhea that may leak from the anus. Eating less fatty foods can reduce this effect. Despite this side effect, most people tolerate this medicine.
Xenical is the brand of orlistat your health care provider can prescribe for you. You can also buy orlistat without a prescription under the name Alli. These pills are half the strength of Xenical. Orlistat costs about $100 or more a month. Consider whether the cost, side effects, and the small weight loss you can expect are worth it to you.
Your body may not absorb important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from food while you are using orlistat. You should take a daily multivitamin if you use orlistat.
MEDICINES THAT SUPPRESS THE APPETITE
These medicines work in your brain by making you less interested in food.
Not everyone loses weight while taking the medicines. Most people regain the weight after they stop taking the medicine, unless they have made lasting lifestyle changes. Talk with your provider about how much weight you can expect to lose by taking any of these medicines.
These medicines are available only by prescription. They include:
- Phentermine (Adipex, Fastin, Ionamin, Phentercot, Phentride, Pro-Fast, and Suprenza)
- Phentermine combined with topiramate (Qsymia)
- Benzphetamine (Didrex)
- Phendimetrazine (Bontril, Melfiat, Obezine, Phendiet, and Prelu-2)
- Diethylpropion (Tenuate)
- Naltrexone combined with bupropion (Contrave)
- Lorcaserin (Belviq)
Only lorcaserin and phentermine/topiramate are approved for long-term use. All other drugs are approved for short-term use of no more than a few weeks.
Be sure you understand the side effects of weight-loss medicines. Side effects can include:
- Increase in blood pressure
- Problems sleeping, headache, nervousness, and palpitations
- Nausea, constipation, and dry mouth
- Depression, which many people who are obese struggle with already
If you have diabetes that needs treatment with medicines, you may want to ask your doctor about diabetes medicines that cause weight-loss. These include:
- Canagliflozin (Invokana)
- Dapagliflozin (Farxiga)
- Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon)
- Liraglutide (Victoza)
- Metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, and Fortamet)
These medicines are not approved by the FDA to treat weight-loss. So you should not take them if you do not have diabetes.