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Medications for Weight Loss

There are real physiologic reasons why it is hard to lose weight “on your own.”

The truth is that our bodies don’t want us to lose weight and have many ways to hinder us when we try. For example, when we lose even small amounts of weight, our fat cells, stomach and intestines send hunger hormones or messages to our brain that we are hungry.  And levels of satiety hormones, those messages that tell our brains we are full, drop down. What’s more, these hormone changes also blunt our metabolism and make our bodies more efficient at storing fat. The result? Weight gain.

To help combat these hindrances there are some newly approved drugs out there for weight loss. Here are reviews of some of the latest.

Qsymia is a recently approved combination of two very old drugs: phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine got a bad rap through its association with phenfen. But this phen (phentermine) was not the problem and has been used widely for weight loss. Topiramate interestingly is known for its use for migraines and seizures. Both drugs effect appetite centers in the brain by tricking the brain that it is full. The beauty of two drugs in one is that you get away with really small doses of each. That means less side effects.

Another drug is lorcaserin (trade name Belviq). This is a weight loss medication that specifically works on serotonin also tricking the hunger centers in the brain into thinking it is full.

And the newest kid in the block is Contrave, a combo pill of bupropion-an antidepressant and naltrexone, a medication that blocks the opioid (better known as morphine) receptor in the brain. Bupropion also stimulates hunger centers in the brain tricking the brain that it is full while the naltrexone part seems to not only help bupropion in doing its job but also appears to dampen the feeling of reward from food. That’s the “ahhh” feeling we get from a delicious brownie.  The result? We eat less!

Of course like all medications these drugs have side effects and contraindications. Only a healthcare professional can help you decide what if any of these or older weight loss medications will work for you.

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