Prescription Weight Loss Medications – Discuss Before Starting

June 27, 2012
Phil in Pharmacy

Phil, Pharmacy Manager

Prescriptions for weight loss are available but aren’t for everyone. They are reserved for people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, or greater than 27 with other risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. The medications should only be used in conjunction with healthy eating habits and exercise. These medications are either stimulants that suppress your appetite or there is one that blocks the absorption of fat from your diet. There are risks to taking these medications. In 2010 one of the stimulant medications called sibutramine (Meridia) was pulled from the market for a link to heart attacks and strokes. The one that blocks fat absorption called orlistat (Xenical, Alli) has had some reports of liver damage and is being investigated. The benefits and the risks should be discussed with your doctor and pharmacist before starting. The challenge with these medications is keeping the weight off since they shouldn’t be used long term. The key to weight loss and being healthy is developing a healthy lifestyle. It is important to do things and eat in a way that can be done long term. This is easier said than done but losing 10% of your weight can have a big impact on your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. If you have more questions about these medications please talk to your local Harmons pharmacist. We also have dietitians that can help with healthy eating.