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There are only a few medications for the treatment of obesity in the market today and most of them have only have a minimum effect with long-term use.

With the discovery of leptin, a substance derived from white fat that signals satiety to the hypothalamus to reduce dietary intake, the members of the scientific community became too excited in conducting their own research in the hope of producing potential pharmaceutical substances that can mimic the action of this naturally-occurring satiety stimulator.

There are three major groups of anti-obesity drugs used in the present generation:

  1. The centrally acting medication that stimulate satiety to reduce food intake
  2. Medications that impair the absorption of certain dietary nutrients to decrease overall caloric intake
  3. Drugs that aim to increase the efficiency of energy expenditure

The development of anti-obesity medications is usually time-consuming. Not because of their lack of effectiveness, but because the long-term effects of these medications must be established since the obese patients who will take this will need to have them for an extended period, maybe for the rest of their lives.

The history of anti-obesity medications is quite interesting since too many disasters have happened with the use of these medications.

Amphetamine, phenmetrazine and methamphetamine were the some of the earliest medications to treat obesity and they were withdrawn from the market because of potential abuse.

Other medications for obesity withdrawn from the market are the thyroid hormones, the rainbow pills, dinitrophenol, aminorex. These medications were withdrawn because of the possible life-threatening complications they can possibly produce.

Other anti-obesity medications withdrawn are D-fenfluramine, because of the possible occurrence of pulmonary hypertension, Fluoxetine, because of its marginally effectiveness in losing weight, Fenfluramine, because of its potential cardiac effect,  and Sibutramine, a centrally-acting appetite suppressing medication that can increase the incidence of stroke and heart attack.

As of the moment, Orlistat is the only anti-obesity medication that is approved by the FDA. Orlistat reduces the absorption of fat digestion and absorption in the gut by blocking the action of pancreatic lipase, an enzyme responsible for fat absorption.

The medical community uses Ephedrine and Caffeine  as second-line anti-obesity management option. They can both increase the energy usage of the body.  However, both can cause palpitations and hypertension. These medications can improve body heat regulation as well as decreased intake of food resulting in 60 to 70 percent weight loss effect.

There are other medications that can be used to treat obesity, however they are not approved by the FDA mainly for this purpose. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine and paroxetine can cause anorexia and therefore trigger decreased caloric intake. Bupropion, an antidepressant and smoking cessation medication, can cause moderate weight loss. Topiramate, an antiepileptic drug, is now known to cause significant weight reduction, which is fifteen to eighteen percent reduction from the baseline weight. However, its main adverse effects, such as memory loss, confusion and drowsiness, make it a non-ideal medication for losing weight.

Category : Weight Loss Guides

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