The goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight. You may need to work with a team of health professionals — including a dietitian and obesity specialist — to help you understand and make changes in your eating and activity habits. In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, weight-loss medication may help in certain situations. The main purpose of anti-obesity medications is to help you to stick to the advised low-calorie diet. This is achieved by stopping the hunger and lack of fullness signals that appear when trying to lose weight. Before selecting a medication for you, your doctor will consider your health history, as well as possible side effects.

Anti-obesity medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, USA) include Orlistat, Phentermine/topiramate, Bupropion/naltrexone, and Liraglutide. Of these, medications, orlistat and liraglutide are available in India. Orlistat is an oral medication that acts by preventing the absorption of fats from the diet. Liraglutide is an analog of the intestinal hormone GLP-1 ( a protein produced by the intestine), which delays gastric emptying and promotes a feeling of satiety. It must be injected daily. Some medicines are used by physicians to help people with obesity lose weight even if they are not approved for the same. These are called “off-label use. Metformin and SGLT2 inhibitors are medicines that are sometimes used in this manner. As of date, no ” herbal” medicines are approved for weight loss and some have even been associated with liver toxicities.

It is important that the patients have realistic expectations about the weight loss that can be achieved with medications.