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Should You Use Appetite Suppressant Weight Loss Pills?

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Maintaining a healthy weight is a key component of both wellness and longevity. Proper body composition helps individuals cultivate optimal mental, hormonal and physical conditions to operate at peak performance for the long haul. However, this has become increasingly difficult to achieve with modern diets and busy lifestyles. To make things more complex there are factors such as genetics, pre-existing conditions, and side effects of prescription medications.

Obesity is a multiple-dimensional problem that requires a multi-faceted solution. Unfortunately, nearly 80% of individuals cannot maintain positive results beyond a year. The good news is that many people are finding incredible results with appetite suppressant weight loss pills. Beyond the immediate benefit, this tool has shown promising results in maintaining long-term weight loss and helping to establish healthy weight practices.

With many options, from over-the-counter to homeopathic solutions, it can be overwhelming to determine which would be the best for you. Let’s look at appetite suppressants and how they operate and discuss the main keys to help discern the best option for your goals.

What are appetite suppressant pills for weight loss?

It can be challenging to separate what appetite suppressants are apart from the marketing hype. At this time, the weight loss industry is presently valued at over 3.8 billion dollars. To get an edge on competitors and to increase margins, overhyped claims and incorrect data can lead to massive confusion for consumers looking for the best solution.

To help sift through the misinformation, it’s important to define appetite suppressant pills and how they function. On the most basic level, appetite suppressants are products and drugs that leverage the neurochemical transmitters of the nervous system to reduce the amount of food we consume. While the intended outcome is the same, the routes that various suppressants use to reach it are numerous.

Appetite suppressants can achieve reduced food intake on a neurochemical level in multiple ways, including:

  • Mimicking the effects of norepinephrine, causing the hypothalamus to register feelings of satiety.
  • Prevent the reuptake or absorption of 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin), which allows prolonged feelings of satisfaction and fullness.
  • Bind to some satiety peptide systems and cannabinoid receptors that reduce food intake.

While appetite suppressants primarily operate in these neurochemical pathways, they may also utilize additional methods to affect appetite and nutrient intake.

From a consumer perspective, the use of appetite suppressants may provide benefits such as:

  • Reduce feelings of hunger
  • Prolong sensations of fullness for longer periods
  • Make it easier to select healthy food options
  • Aid in maintaining consistent macronutrient (fats, carbohydrates, protein) targets
  • Result in lower overall food intake

How long can you stay on an appetite suppressant?

The length of time people can stay on an appetite suppressant varies greatly. It can be as short as a few weeks or as long as indefinitely. The duration is determined by the type of suppressant used, pre-existing conditions, how much weight needs to be lost, and the patient’s goals.

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man sitting in the forest thinking

Is it a good idea to use appetite suppressant pills?

With proper guidance from medical professionals and corresponding lifestyle changes, appetite suppressants have proven to be a safe and effective solution for most people. But are appetite suppressants a good idea for you to use in the first place?

The answer to that question is “it depends”. According to this data, individuals experienced an average of 3%-9% weight loss when a suppressant pill was paired with a healthy diet1. Suppressants may also be ideal for patients with a body mass index (BMI) over 30.

A good rule of thumb is that the greater the complexity of your health condition, the more important it is to bring a doctor or medical professional along for your weight loss journey.

Besides choosing the right appetite suppressant, maximizing safety and effectiveness require regular monitoring and the expertise to make necessary changes and adjustments.

A qualified doctor or medical professional can help you make the best judgment call. If you still have questions or concerns, consider receiving a weight loss consultation like Concierge MD offers to get the ball moving in the right direction.

Types of appetite suppressants

There are many types of appetite suppressants available on the market. While often the most effective, prescription appetite suppressants are only one of many options users have available.

pills, bottles and syringe

Prescription Appetite Suppressants

As mentioned earlier, prescription appetite suppressants leverage the neurochemical pathways of the central nervous system to reduce caloric intake. These medications have been rigorously tested and approved by the FDA, which means they have the most supporting data and research attesting to their effectiveness. It requires consultation from a doctor with regular guidance to ensure maximum effectiveness.

All FDA-approved appetite suppressants have been approved for safe use for up to twelve months. Some products may also be used indefinitely based on a physician’s recommendation.

Over-The-Counter (OTC)

An over-the-counter solution does not require a prescription but would still benefit from the expertise of a medical professional that understands your situation and goals. Because OTC products do not need to adhere to the same guidelines as prescription medications, they can be the most prone to marketing hype and false claims. Determining which ones are trustworthy will require deeper research and vetting the data makers’ claims.

Although some OTC dietary appetite suppressants claim to leverage the same neural pathways as a prescription solution, it’s important to make sure that products contain the proper concentration of ingredients to be able to achieve the claims they place on their products2. Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence that ingredients found in many over-the-counter are effective at weight loss and consistent appetite suppression.

Herbal Appetite Suppressants

These is an option for users that are looking for an over-the-counter solution that is also herbal-based. Herbal solutions utilize appetite-suppressing ingredients such as saffron, purslane seed, chio nut, figs, and sesame seeds. While some historical and anecdotal evidence speaks to their effectiveness, results tend to be mixed and depend on a multitude of factors3.

As of this writing, there is yet to be a herbal appetite suppressant that has undergone substantial clinical testing for long or short-term effectiveness. A double-blind study found no conclusive evidence that herbal diet pills had any effect on weight loss at all4. While achieving results using herbal ingredients may be possible, the concentrations needed to achieve it can be extremely cost-prohibitive.

What are the side effects of appetite suppressant pills?

While there is always a chance of side effects depending on each individual’s specific situation, they tend to be mild and rarely result in serious negative outcomes.

Examples of side effects may include:

  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Changes in taste and dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Changes in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep challenges, including insomnia

There are extremely rare cases in which liver damage might occur. In many of these instances, it was due to pre-existing or underlying conditions that were also present. Prescription options tend to be the least likely to yield negative symptoms because of rigorous FDA testing and the guidance of a physician.

Extreme care needs to be taken when taking over-the-counter or herbal appetite suppressants. Claims and suggested use are not subject to the FDA and are based on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Because of this, potentially negative side effects may include more than what has been listed. It’s important to check the label carefully.

Regardless of type, the best way to choose the right appetite suppressant for you and to reduce the likelihood of negative symptoms is by receiving the guidance of a doctor.

Are there any risks of appetite suppressants?

When properly administered and under a doctor’s supervision, appetite suppressants are extremely safe to take for certain periods. With that said, certain risks may present themselves based on your individual medical history and health.

Pulmonary hyperextension

Observational evidence suggests that appetite suppressants may increase the likelihood of developing this condition, which affects the right side of the heart and the lungs’ arteries5. Symptoms may include chronic shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain that can increase in intensity over time.

Valvular heart disease

Defined as a condition in which the heart’s valve is damaged or diseased. While there appears to be a link between valvular heart disease and products like appetite suppressants, there is conflicting data on just how much of a risk exists6.

Cardiac-valve regurgitation

Sometimes referred to as a “leaky heart valve,” this is a condition in which a heart valve cannot close completely, causing a “regurgitation” effect. Although studies suggest a correlation between this condition and appetite suppressants, the numbers tend to be low7.

hands holding fat over shirt

When should you take appetite suppressants?

While appetite suppressants are safe and can benefit most people, certain individuals may benefit more. Specifically, patients with a higher body mass index (27 or higher) or who are considered obese may benefit greatly. It may also be a great tool for those that suffer from extreme hunger pains and cravings amidst calorie restricted diets.

Who should avoid taking appetite suppressants?

Certain people should not take an appetite suppressant like any product or medication. Appetite suppressants can interact with certain medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety prescriptions. They may also make certain serious pre-existing conditions worse.

man holding his heart with his hands over his shirt

Those suffering from glaucoma, heart disease, liver disease, or hyperthyroidism should avoid using appetite suppressants. If you are pregnant or nursing, it’s best to abstain as well.

Lose weight effectively with medical weight loss

There are many factors to consider to lose weight. A growing number of people have turned to medical weight loss for help. A combination of prescribed weight loss medication and physician-guided weight loss strategies, medical weight loss helps individuals that may not have been successful in the past.

What is medical weight loss?

Medical weight loss is the use of a medical professional that can help eliminate potentially dangerous amounts of body fat. They help you develop the best plan of action that may include medication, monitor results, and make adjustments to maximize effectiveness.

Unlike surgical weight loss, medical weight loss changes a patient’s diet, exercise, habits, and environment to lose weight. Many clients opt for this path because of its greater likelihood of long-term success. Many studies have shown the great success of medically supervised weight loss over five years8.

Multi-faceted solution for a complex problem

The reason most weight loss journeys fail is that obesity is caused by a multitude of factors which include but are not limited to:

  • Environment
  • Genetics
  • Diseases and drugs

Medical weight loss has achieved substantial success because it incorporates a medical professional that can handle the factors that contribute to obesity and form a strategic plan to maximize the odds of success. Using multiple techniques and medication when necessary, doctors have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to help patients.

Benefits of medical weight loss include:

  • Development of a strategic weight loss plan
  • Effective weight loss
  • Reduce the amount of time required to lose weight
  • Develop behaviors and habits that help maintain weight loss
  • Access to prescription-grade weight loss and appetite suppressant tools
  • Increased safety

Real-world benefits of medical weight loss

What sets medical weight loss apart from most other options is its ability to be measured and tracked over time. It’s not just about weight loss. Physician-guided weight loss allows a doctor to track your results in correlation with your overall health and wellness. The result? A safe, measurable approach to weight loss with maximum effectiveness.

This data also provides your doctor with what they need to identify areas causing problems that need to be adjusted to maximize weight loss effectiveness. These may include factors such as:

  • Eating too little or too much food
  • Medications hampering weight loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Low protein intake
  • Incorrect food choices based on your individual needs
  • Lack of intensity in physical activity
  • Improper meal timing and spacing

A bonus is that we can provide many use case scenarios demonstrating how medical weight loss can help clients navigate many common weight loss challenges.

Here are some included below:

  • Tried dieting and isn’t seeing results
  • Tried other weight loss programs and aren’t reaching their goal
  • May have genetic reasons they have difficulty losing weight
  • May have other reasons they aren’t losing weight (e.g., anxiety, stress, poor sleep)
  • Are taking medications that cause them to hold onto weight

What types of prescription medications are used in medical weight loss?

While there are several prescription medications for weight loss, they are limited compared to over-the-counter and herbal solutions. This is due to the rigorous, exhaustive testing and studies required to meet the prescribed weight loss medication benchmarks.

Let’s look at some of the most common prescription weight-loss medications. The benefit of medical weight loss, such as what Concierge MD offers, is that a physician can determine the best one for your specific situation.

ozempic injection

Ozempic (semaglutide)

It is similar to a hormone that helps control blood sugar, insulin levels, and digestion. Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017 for diabetes but may be used off-label for weight loss. This medication is taken using an injection pen.

Wegovy (semaglutide)

Approved by the FDA for weight loss and taken in the form of an injection, Wegovy is used for individuals that are considered obese or overweight. It is also formulated to help with problems that may have prevented weight loss previously. Wegovy has also been observed to help with long-term weight maintenance.

wegovy
box of mounjaro

Mounjaro (tirzepatide)

Helps regulate blood sugar levels to aid in weight loss. It is approved by the FDA as a dual diabetes and weight loss treatment and utilizes subcutaneous application.

Saxenda (liraglutide)

An injection meant to treat obesity by helping to maintain proper blood sugar levels conducive to weight loss. It has additional benefits for heart health as well. Saxenda is an injection that is FDA approved and has shown similar results to other weight loss medications.

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capsules

Xenical

Although not an appetite suppressant specifically, Xenical helps reduce caloric density by blocking fat from being absorbed by the body. FDA-approved in 1999, it is one of the oldest weight loss oral medications available.

Qsymia

Qsymia is a combination of phentermine and topiramate. They are delivered in a time-release capsule. It is FDA-approved, and the phentermine serves as a powerful appetite suppressant.

pills and capsules

Contrave

Delivered in tablet form, Contrave is an antidepressant that can reduce appetite and curb cravings. It is well-studied and FDA-approved.

Adipex-P/Lomaira

Also known as phentermine, this tablet is FDA approved and works to leverage the central nervous system to achieve decreased appetite and a host of other weight loss-conducive mechanisms. It is extremely potent and requires close medical supervision.

Bontril PDM

FDA-approved and delivered in a tablet, Bontril PDM is effective at treating obesity and is taken an hour before meals. It is extremely powerful but requires close supervision in its dosages and application. A detailed examination from your doctor is important because this medication can negatively interact with other medications and allergies.

Desoxyn

A tablet that serves as a powerful stimulant to the central nervous system, Desoxyn stimulates the brain and contributes to impulse control and weight loss. It has proven to be effective when other medications may have failed. It is a powerful, Schedule II medication that requires close supervision.

Tips for choosing a medical weight loss program

Not all medical weight loss programs are the same. Many options include outpatient treatment programs, residential solutions, and concierge at-home medical weight loss programs. It’s important to consider your situation to make the best decision. In addition, here are some considerations and tips to keep in mind.

Become familiar with the medical weight loss process

If you’re new to the medical weight loss journey, consider reviewing the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. A barrier to a successful weight loss journey is often due to a lack of clarity on the process and considerations of the amount of work required. Getting acquainted with realistic goal setting and anticipated challenges will be helpful.

Convenience of appointments

Make sure the treatment option and provider you go with have the necessary convenience and flexibility. Medical weight loss requires multiple appointments, so this will be important to consider for long-term results.

Balance of diet/medications/exercise

While it can be tempting, avoid any medical weight loss program that relies too heavily on medication. A balanced approach will help ensure the longevity of weight loss.

Customize plans to meet patient needs

No two people are the same. This applies to their weight loss journeys as well. You will want to avoid any program or provider that makes it challenging to make adjustments or tries to fit you inside a generic plan.

Practice and practitioners are licensed and certified

It’s important to ensure that the practice and those administering your treatment are appropriately licensed and certified to guide you on a medical weight loss journey.

A powerful tool in a balanced weight loss plan

The process of long-term successful weight loss can be complex and challenging. Being able to experience results depends on knowledge of important weight loss factors and an ability to leverage weight loss tools like an appetite suppressant.

While it can help, it’s important to remember that appetite suppressants alone will not achieve lasting results. Additional lifestyle changes will be required, including a healthy diet and physical activity.

The good news is that medical weight loss services such as the ones provided by our team at Drip Hydration can make sure the full force of the weight loss field is directed towards your success. Taking the best of outpatient and residential programs can be an ideal solution for busy people who still want effective, attentive, quality care. Combining in-home evaluations with expert physicians, strategies, and appropriate medication makes concierge medicine the most convenient and effective medical weight loss solution.

If you have had limited success with your weight loss journey, we encourage you to reach out to our office to see if in-home medical weight loss may be the missing piece to your weight loss journey.

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Wegovy™ (Semaglutide) medications will help you on your journey toward your desired body no matter which Medical Weight Loss program you choose to implement. It’s the only effective and FDA-approved medication for long-term weight loss management.

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References

[1] Appetite Suppressants. Cleveland Clinic. Last reviewed September 25, 2020. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/9463-appetite-suppressants;

[2] Stuby J., Gravestock I., Wolfram E., Pichierri G., Steurer J., and Burgstaller J. M. Appetite-Suppressing and Satiety-Increasing Bioactive Phytochemicals: A Systematic Review. National Library Of Medicine. September, 17,2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769678/;

[3] Parsa E., Mokaberinejad R., Khodadoost M., Zareiyan A., Mojahedi M., Yaghmaei F., Jafari P., Hakimi F. Appetite Reducing Herbal Drugs from the Perspective of Avicenna and Aghili in Iranian Traditional Medicine (Persian medicine). National Library Of Medicine. Published 2019. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29972103/;

[4] Astell K. J., Mathai L. M. , Su Q. X. Plant extracts with appetite suppressing properties for body weight control: a systematic review of double blind randomized controlled clinical trials. National Library Of Medicine. Published in August 2013. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23876572/;

[5] L Abenhaim, Y Moride, F Brenot, S Rich, J Benichou, X Kurz, T Higenbottam, C Oakley, E Wouters, M Aubier, G Simonneau, B Bégaud. Appetite-suppressant drugs and the risk of primary pulmonary hypertension. International Primary Pulmonary Hypertension Study Group. National Library Of Medicine. Published August 1996. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8692238/;

[6] Loke K. Y., Derry S., Pritchard-Copley A. Appetite suppressants and valvular heart disease - a systematic review. National Library Of Medicine. Published in August 2002. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12194699/;

[7] H Jick, C Vasilakis, L A Weinrauch, C R Meier, S S Jick, L E Derby. A population-based study of appetite-suppressant drugs and the risk of cardiac-valve regurgitation. National Library Of Medicine. Published in September 1998. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9731087/;

[8] Krishnaswami A., MD, MAS. Real-World Effectiveness of a Medically Supervised Weight Management Program in a Large Integrated Health Care Delivery System: Five-Year Outcomes. National Library Of Medicine. 22 January 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5798936/;