Prescription Weight-Loss Drugs: Are They Worth the Risk?

New medications for weight loss are thought to be safer than many of the drugs that were previously on the market. While there are several new products that claim to effectively treat obesity, it is important to use caution when considering any weight-loss medication.

Obesity is considered a medical risk factor and can increase the likelihood of other conditions. Obesity is also a disease in itself and has been the subject of intense medical research and scientific studies to offer effective treatments to patients and consumers. However, offering safe treatments that deliver noticeable results is easier said than done.

New Weight Loss Treatments

The FDA has approved four new medications for weight loss since 2012: Qsymia, Belviq, Contrave, and Saxenda. These medicines treat obesity. According to Dr. Lee Kaplan, the director of the Obesity, Metabolism, and Nutrition Institute at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, there are six FDA-approved medicines on the market. However, this is a very small amount compared to the number of medications on the market that treat other chronic diseases. This indicates that there should be more medicines for individuals who suffer from obesity.

Are the Newer Medications Helpful?

Like many of the older medicines, the newer weight-loss drugs work best when the person taking them follows a healthy diet, exercises regularly, and checks in with their doctor regularly. The medications are intended for individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Weight-loss medicines are also designed for people who, along with a high BMI, have other conditions often associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, joint pain, sleep apnea, or type 2 diabetes. Often, these conditions can be improved or eliminated by losing weight.

It is important to note that everyone won’t respond the way to a particular medication. Some people may lose a lot of weight while some may lose very little or none at all.

Dr. Kaplan shares that, at present, there is no way for individuals or physicians to predict how a patient will respond to weight-loss medications. If a patient doesn’t see results with one drug, they may need to try another.

Weight-loss medications also don’t lead to immediate weight loss. For the most part, people can expect to lose about 5% of their weight in the first six months to a year. Losing even a few pounds can significantly improve an individual’s health and lower the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.

Are Weight-Loss Medications Safe?

There have been some negative reports in the past about some weight-loss medications. Fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were taken off the market after these drugs were connected to heart valve damage. Meridia (sibutramine) was also taken off the shelves after the drug was linked to stroke and heart attack for people who are at risk for these conditions.

The weight-loss medication options consumers have today come with their own concerns as well. Phentermine, which is found in Ionamin, Qsymia, and Adipex-P, is not recommended for people who have heart conditions or high blood pressure. Topiramate, which is another ingredient in Qsymia, has been associated with a higher risk of birth defects, which is why women who are taking the medication are cautioned not to get pregnant while they are using Qsymia.

If a medication causes you to use 5% or more of your body weight in a few months and you don’t experience any side effects, chances are you’ll want to keep using it. However, weight-loss medicines are not a substitute for diet and exercise. It is also important to pay attention to any changes in your body that may be concerning if you’re taking medication for weight loss.

Bottom Line

If you’ve had adverse reactions from taking weight-loss drugs, speaking to a qualified attorney. This is especially true if you are considering filing a Belviq cancer lawsuit after developing cancer from taking Belviq. An experienced lawyer can assess every detail of your case and let you know if you have a legitimate case. Once you know your rights, you can file a settlement to get the compensation you deserve.

About the author:

Wilma Wiliams is a law school graduate and a part-time freelance blogger, focused on various legal topics such as personal injury, and bankruptcy. She’s passionate about educating the public on fighting for their rights, which is why she’s currently collaborating with Ask LLP: Lawyers for Justice, whilst actively sharing a part of her experience as a former lawyer.

TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team