Weight gain in the United States is an epidemic and does not seem to show any signs of slowing down. As we continue to indulge in fast food and as our food sources change, weight gain in our population seems inevitable. We’re dedicating less time to considering the origins and preparation of our food, increasingly relying on processed, high-fat, high-sugar options. This trend significantly contributes to the obesity epidemic. A 2021 study found that the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. Some obesity related conditions can include heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

The fundamental principle remains unchanged: Consuming more calories without regular exercise leads to weight gain, while burning more calories than you consume leads to weight loss. Following a balanced diet, rich in nutrient-dense foods, coupled with a consistent exercise routine, forms the cornerstone of an effective weight management strategy. It’s crucial to be mindful of both what and how much we eat, as these factors directly influence weight management. Beyond the scale, a balanced diet provides essential nutrients that support bodily functions and promote long-term health. It’s about nourishing the body with a diverse range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Regular exercise not only burns calories but also strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and boosts mood.

Prescription Solutions to Manage Your Weight

There are some prescription medications that can help with weight loss, with the ability to decrease your appetite making you less hungry and increase your metabolism allowing you to burn more calories. While these medications are helpful, you always need to add diet and exercise to your regimen to be healthy and successful. There is no magic pill or injection that can guarantee weight loss, but there are some that can complement your weight loss program and contribute to your overall success.

Understanding the complexities of obesity and available treatments is crucial. There are six weight loss medications that are currently FDA approved for long term use:

• Contrave: This combination of 2 medications, Bupropion (which is an antidepressant) and Naloxone (a medication we use to treat alcohol or narcotic addiction), has been shown to promote weight loss when used with diet and exercise.
• Saxenda: Assists in managing diabetes and works by regulating your appetite. It is typically administered through a daily injection.
• Orlistat: Promotes weight loss by decreasing the amount of dietary fat absorbed in your intestines.
• Phenterimine: A common weight loss medication which combines a stimulant (to increase your metabolism and decrease your appetite) with a seizure medication that also decreases your appetite.
• Semaglutide: Used together with diet and exercise to help control your blood sugar, this is one of the newer weight loss medications that help controls blood sugar and is usually given as a weekly injection.
• Stmelanotide: This is a specialty drug that is only available for people over the age of 6 who have obesity due to rare and inherited conditions.

Most prescription weight-loss drugs work by making you feel less hungry or by making you feel full. The exception is Orlistat, as it affects the way your body absorbs fat. When considering weight loss medications, it’s essential to remember that they should be utilized in tandem with a balanced diet and regular exercise regimen. It’s worth noting that as with any medication, there is a potential for the risk of side effects. It’s important to discuss the risk or complications associated with these weight loss medications with your Physician.

There are many ways to start a weight loss program and be successful at it. Weight loss can be overwhelming and scary for some but if done correctly it can lead to long lasting, lifesaving changes leading in the long run to a healthy life. Consult your Physician before starting any weight loss program so they can help tailor it to you and your unique conditions.

Dr. Lenny Sukienik is a proud member of the TopLine MD Alliance practicing Primary Care in Palm Beach County.

The TopLine MD Alliance is an association of independent physicians and medical practice groups who are committed to providing a higher standard of healthcare services. The members of the TopLine MD Alliance have no legal or financial relationship with one another. The TopLine MD Alliance brand has no formal corporate, financial or legal ties to any of the affiliated physicians or practice groups.