Medications For Weight Loss

Medications for Weight Loss

Anti-obesity medications are used along with a healthy lifestyle and can help a patient adhere to their goals through various biological mechanisms such as suppressing appetite and hunger, decreasing interest and thoughts about food, decreasing cravings, decreasing binge eating, and improving metabolic health. Each person is unique! A medication that works for one person (medication responder) may not work for another (a non-responder). One medication alone (mono-therapy) may work, whereas, more than one medication (combination therapy) may be needed to battle the various mechanisms that are contributing to the excess weight.

Medications work and can help you stay focused on your goals. Many times, diet and exercise alone aren’t enough and prescription anti-obesity medications are needed. Once you reach the maintenance phase, you are likely to be more successful keeping weight off long-term either by using lower doses of the prescription medications to prevent weight gain or restarting quickly if the weight starts to come back. Why? Because your body and brain will fight to get that weight back through a variety of very strong biological pathways. It is not as simple as “calories in-calories out”. This old- fashioned myth lays blame on the patient. “If only he/she would eat less and exercise more!” Biological pathways are actively working against and eroding your “willpower”.

Medications alone don’t do all the work, though! Time and effort on your part is necessary to plan eating healthy meals, becoming more active, and organizing your time to follow your plan. It’s not only about weight as a number, it’s about your health and preventing or reversing inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and chronic diseases. Anti-obesity medications help a patient stay more focused and “on track” by working against the biological mechanisms. These biological mechanisms helped humans survive the famines of the past. Now these biological pathways contribute to storing fat and excess weight.

Phentermine is the most commonly used anti-obesity medication. Others are available for consideration based on your medical and weight history. Other factors to consider are an individual’s responsiveness to the medication (responder vs non-responder), cost, and side effects. The current FDA approved medications to treat the disease of obesity are phentermine, diethylpropion, phendimetrazine, Orlistat, Belviq, Qsymia, Contrave, and Saxenda. All of these are prescription anti-obesity medications.

Medications are used to decrease appetite, decrease interest in food, curtail cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, treat inflammatory conditions, and/or interrupt harmful metabolic pathways (such as insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome). We will review your medications and your progress at each visit and make adjustments as needed. Medications help block the various strong biological pathways that drive us to overeat and gain weight and save energy (for example, conserving energy by not wanting to move). If you have been having difficulty losing weight or problems regaining weight, it may be time to consider anti-obesity medications.

Who is Eligible for Prescription Anti-Obesity Medication in Dr. Romero's Office?

  • Age: 18 or over
  • BMI: 30 or over
    • OR 27-29 with weight related medical condition

    (some examples of a weight related medical condition are: high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, joint related arthritis, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, PCOS, insulin resistance)

    Click here to calculate your BMI.

  • If your BMI is less than 27, please talk to Dr. Romero before scheduling a new patient appointment to make sure you are eligible to participate.
  • Women who are pregnant or breast feeding are not eligible for prescription anti-obesity medications.
  • Women who are trying to get pregnant soon may be eligible for specific medications, but it is recommended that you talk to Dr. Romero before scheduling an appointment.
  • If you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, you are very likely not eligible for prescription anti-obesity medications and these conditions are best managed by an Eating Disorder Specialist.
  • If you are applying for the military and need to meet a weight goal, please call Dr. Romero to discuss to ensure we can set realistic safe time goals.
  • Men or women who have a current active substance abuse problem are generally not eligible.
  • If you have had bariatric surgery (e.g. gastric bypass or gastric sleeve) and are experiencing weight gain, you are probably eligible for anti-obesity medications. Please call Dr. Romero to discuss.
  • If you have questions about whether or not you qualify for prescription anti-obesity medications, please call Dr. Romero at (505) 889-4587.