Anti-Obesity Drugs – Are They Safe?

Obesity is one of the challenging health conditions most people (especially women) have to deal with, and you certainly need to do so. The impact of obesity on your body and body systems is, in simple terms, risky. The diseases associated with obesity are not only life threatening but also difficult to treat or manage in addition to being very expensive to treat. You certainly do not wish to take drugs for the rest of your life. Because of how obesity can be destructive, various treatments have been developed. These include dieting plans and physical exercises. In addition to these, varied anti-obesity medications have also been availed into the market for the same purpose.

Anti-obesity medications have so far attracted varied opinions from different experts regarding their safety. While some proponents of the same have continuously encouraged those obese to use the drugs, opponents have pointed out the dangers or side effects of using the same. One fact is however certain that most of the anti-obesity medications have not been subjected to requisite efficacy tests as is required of medications for human use. Any medication whose safety is in question definitely makes it unsafe. This means that the only safe ways of fighting obesity (as of now) remains safe dieting and physical exercises.

How Anti-Obesity Medications Work?

Anti-obesity medications act through three main mechanisms:

  • Appetite suppression – The drugs produce the same effect as smoking tobacco or marijuana. They suppress your appetite for food. They eliminate hunger, making you feel that you are full. This enables your body to avoid buildup of fat in your body with your body resorting to using any fat stored within for energy purposes. This enables you to reduce your weight drastically.
  • Increased metabolism – The drugs increase your body’s metabolism process. Any food you eat is processed fast and any absorbed nutrients including fat is used up fast, avoiding buildup of the same.
  • Restricted absorption of nutrients – The drugs restrict responsible cells from absorbing particular nutrients contained in the food that you eat, including fat.
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Common Anti-Obesity Drugs

Some of the common anti-obesity drugs in the market include:

  • Orlistat – Orlistat is one of the very few anti-obesity medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This medication restricts your intestines from absorbing fat contained in the food that you eat. The drug is however associated with the occurrence of oily bowel movement and liver disease (swelling).
  • Sibutramine – Sibutramine is one of the anti-obesity medications that suppress your appetite, preventing hunger and in effect aiding in weight loss. Its side effects include dry mouth, frequent headaches and insomnia. This medication poses the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. For this reason, it has been withdrawn from Australian, Canada, EU and Hong Kong markets.
  • Rimonabant – Rimonabant medication suppresses appetite. It also has the effect of increasing how your body expends energy, resulting in weight loss. The use of Rimonabant has however been controversial and for this reason, it has been withdrawn from major markets including that of the USA and EU.
  • Metformin – Metformin medication is usually the first line of treatment for Type 2 diabetes. It is also marketed as an anti-obesity medication. While this may be safe amongst those who are diabetic, safety amongst non-diabetic has not been established.
  • Exenatide – Exenatide is another Type 2 diabetes medication that has also proved to be effective in weight reduction amongst diabetics. Its safety amongst non-diabetic has not been established because trials are still underway.
  • Pramlintide – Pramlintide is a medication prescribed for the treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It is also effective as a weight loss medication amongst diabetic. It is currently on trial amongst non-diabetics as an anti-obesity medication.
  • Human growth hormone – Growth hormone is a peptide hormone produced in the pituitary gland. It is responsible for growth and reproduction of cells. The same hormone is also produced artificially through DNA technology and is used for varied medical reasons including in the treatment of obesity. Although it has shown positive results in weight reduction, its side effects has made it unpopular.
  • Dinitrophenol – Dinitrophenol has the effect of increasing your body’s energy expenditure, leading to weight loss. Dinitrophenol however contains poisonous components.
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You need to be very careful before you use any anti-obesity medication. In most cases, the side effects of these medications (which can be life threatening) outweigh any benefits you may derive. The fact that most of them have not been approved by reputable health authorities and health regulatory agencies should restrict you to dieting and exercising as the safest ways of fighting obesity. Anti-obesity drugs are certainly not safe (yet).

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