Because our mission is to help and not sugar coat, we’re just going to come out and say it: Weight loss can be tough. There is no “easy” or “quick fix.” (Hey, if all those fad diets worked, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.) If you feel like you’ve tried everything and are still having a hard time losing weight, prescription medication may be an answer.
Research shows that the right prescription medication can make a real difference when added to other habits like getting regular movement and eating a healthy diet. The key, is, though, to find what medication is most effective for you. The reason is that science shows excess weight and obesity has dozens of causes. Genetics is part of it, but so are factors like hormones, medications, certain health conditions, and even the environment. Depending on the nature of each person’s weight, they may need a specific medication.
Here’s a quick explanation of how some of the medications that we prescribe work. We want you to be confident in understanding how the various kinds can promote weight loss. Here’s what they can do:
1. Reduce cravings
Many weight loss drugs—known as hypothalamus regulators—work by suppressing neurons in your brain that stimulate appetite. As a result, you might find you need less food. And when you consistently eat fewer calories over time, well, you know what the scale has to say about that. In one clinical trial, 42% of subjects prescribed these types of medications lost at least 5% of their body weight over the course of a year, compared to 17% of those who were given a placebo.
2. Make you feel full
Some weight loss drugs—including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists such as semaglutide, can be used treat type 2 diabetes. When paired with healthy eating and exercise habits, they can help control your blood sugar and boost feelings of fullness by stimulating the nervous system. Many people who start taking prescription weight loss medication lose an average of a pound or two a week—and most see significant weight loss within 12 weeks.
3. Activate your nervous system
Weight loss medications known as “anorectics,” or appetite suppressants, spark your sympathetic nervous system (what you might know as the “fight or flight” response). When your body is in this mode, your metabolism gets a bump so you burn more calories, and your appetite also decreases.
4. Improve blood sugar levels
Some medications that are prescribed to help control blood sugar (remember the GLP-1s we were talking about earlier?) are also effective at decreasing appetite. These drugs can be a win-win for you if you have diabetes or insulin sensitivity, as well as excess weight. But they’ve also been proven to help with weight loss among patients who have a healthy insulin response.
5. Block fat absorption
While many weight loss drugs work by communicating with your brain, there’s a type of medication that works by blocking your body’s ability to absorb fat on a cellular level. One that you might have heard of is called orlistat. It signals your gut to block about a third of the fat you consume.
We can help you develop a comprehensive weight loss plan that may include medications. Your medical provider will prescribe you either one or a combination of these medications in order to aid your weight loss journey. Combined with behavior change, health coaching, and a supportive community, medication can be a safe, effective way to help lose weight. If you think prescription weight loss might be right for you, take this short quiz today to learn how we can finally deliver the results you’ve been looking for.