Who is a candidate for weight-loss drugs?
Your doctor may consider weight-loss drugs for you if you haven't been able to lose weight through diet and exercise and you meet one of the following:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30.
- Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Before selecting a medication for you, your doctor will consider your health history, possible drug side effects and potential interactions with medications you're already taking.
It's important to note, however, that weight-loss drugs aren't for everyone. For example, prescription weight-loss drugs shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant or women who are breast-feeding.
How well do weight-loss drugs work?
All prescription weight-loss drugs approved for long-term use produce significant weight loss compared with placebo. In addition, studies show that the addition of weight-loss medication to lifestyle changes results in greater weight loss than lifestyle changes alone produce.
Over the course of 12 months, that can mean a weight loss of 3 to 7 percent of total body weight beyond that achieved with lifestyle changes alone. That may seem like a modest amount, but sustained weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of total body weight can have health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and triglyceride levels.