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Anti-Obesity Drugs

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Anti-obesity drugs are the pharmaceutical formulations intended to reduce or control weight. When the body mass index (BMI) of a person is 30 or more, s/he falls in the category of overweight obese population. Overweight and obesity are diseases where an excess of body fat accumulates in such a way that may adversely affect health. Anti-Obesity Drug is administered to overweight people who fail in achieving weight loss support from other means. Best weight loss program is considered to be a combination of supervised balanced diet, physical exercise and lifestyle modification. However, Anti-obesity drugs are used in adult obesity patients who do not get success in achieving a 10% weight reduction after at least three months of supervised care.

Anti Obesity Drug Therapy

An anti-obesity drug therapy is prescribed for a maximum of 12 weeks in the first instance. Thereafter weight loss is measured. Most of the time, the drug treatment is stopped where the obese patients do not achieve a 5% weight reduction after 12 weeks of drug treatment. If a 5% or more weight loss is attained then the drug is continued. Body weight is continually monitored to check regain of weight.

Types of Anti-Obesity Drugs

There are two main categories of anti-obesity drugs

  • Anti obesity drugs that act on the gastrointestinal system (pancreatic lipase inhibitors)
  • Anti obesity drugs that act on the central nervous system mainly to suppress appetite

Orlistat is an example of the first kind of anti obesity drug that inhibits pancreatic and gastric lipase. It decreases ingested triglyceride hydrolysis that produces a dose-dependent reduction in dietary fat absorption which in turn leads to weight loss.

Sibutramine is the example of second kind of anti obesity drug that promotes a sense of satiety through its central action as a serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor. It may also mitigate against the fall in thermogenesis through stimulation of peripheral norepinephrine receptors. It is, in simple terms, an anorectic or appetite suppressant, that reduces the desire to eat.

Rimonabant is a recently developed anti-obesity drug. It also acts centrally on the brain and decreases appetite. It may also act peripherally by increasing thermogenesis and therefore increasing energy expenditure.

Other anti-obesity prescription drugs include Bontril (phendimetrazine tartrate), Desoxyn (methamphetamine) and Ionamin and Adipex-P (phentermine). There are many anti obesity drugs but some of them have severe or life-threatening side effects. Therefore, they are recommended to be taken only under medical supervision. Prescription weight loss drugs are approved only for those with a BMI of 30 and above, or 27 and above if they have other risk factors, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

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