On paper, the concept of obesity is simple: your body is consuming more food energy than it burns, which means you consequently gain weight. In reality, the causes of obesity are more nuanced, ranging from genetic factors to residing in an obesogenic environment that encourages you to consume food while engaging in long periods of sedentary behavior. If you’re obese, you likely know how this can result in a disheartening situation in which your efforts to lose weight result in little more than accentuating your continual feeling of hunger.
Luckily, medical technology has found supplementary aids for your weight loss needs in the form of anti-obesity medications—prescription drugs that assist you in weight management. Keep reading to learn more about anti-obesity medications, including when and how you should use them.
When should you take anti-obesity medications?
Anti-obesity medications will work best health-wise for some people than others. To determine which category you fall into, it’s best to consult a doctor. Generally, those with a BMI of over 30—or a BMI of 27 with hypertension or another weight-related complication—will most likely be recommended to take medications with the agonist GLP-1 for weight loss. These medications include Wegovy and Ozempic. Remember that these prescription drugs are meant for people whose weight conditions seriously impact their health. Many anti-obesity medications were originally created for diabetic patients—so if you only wish to lose a few pounds, it’s best not to strain the supply of these drugs.
How effective are anti-obesity medications?
Anti-obesity medications are often very effective. With consistency, those who take GLP-1 drugs attain an average of 15% weight loss in the long term. A 2022 systematic review examined semaglutide—a form of GLP-1 medication that’s injected under the skin—and concluded that it was safe and efficacious in treating obesity, with complications stemming primarily from gastrointestinal events. If you take these medications, you’ll most likely experience positive results.
How to use anti-obesity medications
If you’re prescribed anti-obesity medications, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when taking them. You can only reap the powerful outcomes they promise if you use them properly. For example, with Wegovy and Ozempic, you usually start with a dose of 0.25 mg that you inject weekly, allowing your body to get accustomed to the medication. You then increase your dosage every four weeks. You need to perform this task consistently—otherwise, the medication won’t take effect.
Additionally, anti-obesity medications aren’t meant to be the end-all-be-all solution to obesity. According to a 2021 study, getting thinner in itself won’t significantly reduce the accompanying risks of obesity, including cardiovascular disease or stroke. While weight loss is a tangible indicator of your health, don’t make it your primary objective. Instead, strive for it to be part of an overall strategy to achieve holistic wellness. To do this, you need to enact other anti-obesity preventative measures, such as consuming a rich diet of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and minimizing your intake of alcohol, soft drinks, and other sugary snacks. Doing this will allow you a lifestyle that truly boosts your health.
Anti-obesity medications are highly beneficial for the individuals they’re prescribed to. If you’re obese and want help in your weight loss efforts, check with your healthcare provider to see if you’re qualified to use them.