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Prescription Medications to Treat Overweight & Obesity



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What are overweight and obesity?

Health care professionals use the Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of your weight in relation to your height, to define overweight and obesity.

People who have a BMI between 25 and 30 are considered to be overweight. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. You can calculate your BMI to learn if you are overweight, have obesity, or have severe obesity, which may increase your risk of health problems. Your health care professional can assess your individual risk caused by your weight.

If you are struggling with your weight, a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity may help you lose weight and keep it off over the long term. If these lifestyle changes are not enough to help you lose weight or maintain your weight loss, your health care professional may prescribe medications as part of your weight-control program.


How common are overweight and obesity?

Obesity is a chronic disease that affects more than 4 in 10 adults in the United States, and nearly 1 in 10 Americans have severe obesity.1

How do weight management medications work?

Prescription medications to treat overweight and obesity work in different ways. For example, some medications may help you feel less hungry or full sooner. Other medications may make it harder for your body to absorb fat from the foods you eat.

Who might benefit from weight management medications?

Weight management medications are meant to help people who have health problems related to overweight or obesity. Health care professionals use BMI to help decide whether you might benefit from weight management medications. Your health care professional may prescribe a medication to treat your overweight or obesity if you are an adult with

Weight management medications aren’t for everyone with a high BMI. If you are overweight or have obesity, you might be able to lose weight with a lifestyle program that changes your behaviors and improves your eating and physical activity habits. A lifestyle program may also address other things that cause you to gain weight, such as eating triggers and not getting enough sleep.

Can children or teenagers take weight management medications?

Most of the weight management medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are for adults only. Two prescription medications, orlistat (Xenical)2 and liraglutide (Saxenda),3 are approved by the FDA for children ages 12 and older. A third prescription medication, setmelanotide (IMCIVREE),4 is approved by the FDA for children ages 6 years and older who have rare genetic disorders causing obesity.


Can medications replace physical activity and healthy eating habits as a way to lose weight?

Medications don’t replace physical activity or healthy eating habits as a way to lose weight. Studies show that weight management medications work best when combined with a lifestyle program. Ask your health care professional about lifestyle treatment programs for weight management that will work for you.

A young woman wearing headphones goes for a run at the park.Weight management medications don’t replace physical activity and healthy eating habits.

What are the benefits of using prescription medications to lose weight?

When combined with changes to behavior, including healthy eating and increased physical activity, prescription medications help some people lose weight and maintain weight loss. On average, after 1 year, people who take prescription medications as part of a lifestyle program lose 3% to 12% more of their starting body weight than people in a lifestyle program who do not take medication.

Research shows that some people taking prescription weight management medications lose 10% or more of their starting weight.5,6 Results vary by medication and by person.

Weight loss of 5% to 10% of your starting body weight may help improve your health by lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. Losing weight also can improve some other health problems related to overweight and obesity, such as joint pain and sleep apnea. Most weight loss takes place within the first 6 months of starting the medication.

What are the concerns about using prescription medications to lose weight?

Experts are concerned that, in some cases, the side effects of prescription medications that treat overweight and obesity may outweigh the benefits. For this reason, never take a weight management medication only to improve the way you look. In the past, some weight management medications were linked to serious health problems, and they were removed from U.S. markets.


Possible side effects vary by medication and how it acts on your body. Most side effects are mild and most often improve if you continue to take the medication. Rarely, serious side effects can occur.

Tips for taking weight management medication

  • Follow your health care professionals instructions about weight management medications.
  • Buy your medication from a pharmacy or online distributor approved by your health care professional.
  • Only take weight management medication to support your healthy eating and physical activity program.
  • Know the side effects and warnings before taking any medication.
  • If you are not losing weight after 12 weeks on the full dose of your medication, ask your health care professional whether you should stop taking it.
  • Talk with your health care professional about any other medications you are taking, including supplements and vitamins, when considering weight management medications.
  • Never take weight management medications during pregnancy or if you are planning a pregnancy.

Which weight management medication might work for me?

Choosing a medication to treat overweight or obesity is a decision between you and your health care professional. Important factors to consider include

  • the likely benefits of weight loss
  • the medication’s possible side effects
  • your current health issues and other medications
  • your family’s medical history
  • cost

How long will I need to take weight management medication?

How long you will need to take weight management medication depends on whether the drug helps you lose weight and keep it off and whether you experience serious side effects.

If you have lost enough weight to improve your health and are not experiencing serious side effects, your health care professional may advise you to stay on the medication indefinitely. If you do not lose at least 5% of your starting weight after 12 weeks on the full dose of your medication, your health care professional will probably advise you to stop taking it. Your health care professional may also

  • change your treatment plan or consider using a different weight management medication
  • have you try different lifestyle, physical activity, or eating programs
  • change your other medications that might be causing weight gain
  • refer you to a bariatric surgeon to see if weight-loss (bariatric) surgery  might be an option for you

Because obesity is a chronic disease, you may need to continue your new eating and physical activity habits and other behaviors for years—or even a lifetime—to improve your health and maintain a healthier weight.

Will I regain some weight after I stop taking weight management medication?

You probably will regain some weight after you stop taking weight management medication. Developing and maintaining healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity may help you regain less weight or keep it off.

Federal physical activity guidelines (PDF, 14.5 MB) recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activities. You may need to do more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to reach or maintain your weight-loss goal.

Will insurance cover the cost of weight management medication?

Some, but not all, insurance plans cover medications that treat overweight and obesity. Contact your insurance provider to find out if your plan covers these medications.


What medications are available to treat overweight and obesity?

The table below lists prescription drugs approved by the FDA for weight loss. The FDA has approved five of these drugs—orlistat (Xenical, Alli), phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia), naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda), and semaglutide (Wegovy)—for long-term use. A sixth approved drug, setmelanotide (IMCIVREE), is limited to people who have been diagnosed with one of three specific rare genetic disorders, which must be confirmed by genetic testing. You can keep taking these medications as long as you are benefiting from treatment and not experiencing serious side effects.

Some weight management medications that curb appetite are approved by the FDA for short-term use only, for up to 12 weeks. Although some health care professionals prescribe them for longer periods, not many research studies have looked at how safe and effective they are for long-term use.

Never take weight management medications if you are pregnant. If you are planning to get pregnant, you should also avoid these medications, as some of them may harm the fetus.

Prescription medications approved to treat overweight and obesity

Weight Management Medication Approved For How It Works Common Side Effects Warnings
orlistat (Xenical)

Available in lower dose without prescription (Alli)

Adults and children ages 12 and older Works in your gut to reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • leakage of oily stools
  • stomach pain
  • Rare cases of severe liver injury have been reported
  • Avoid taking with cyclosporine
  • Take a multivitamin pill daily to make sure you get enough of certain vitamins that your body may not absorb from the food you eat
phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia) Adults
  • A mix of two medications: phentermine, which lessens your appetite, and topiramate, which is used to treat seizures or migraine headaches
  • May make you less hungry or feel full sooner
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • taste changes, especially with carbonated beverages
  • tingling of your hands and feet
  • trouble sleeping
  • Do not use if you have glaucoma or hyperthyroidism
  • Tell your health care professional if you have had a heart attack or stroke, abnormal heart rhythm, kidney disease, or mood problems
  • Do not take if you are breastfeeding
naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave) Adults
  • A mix of two medications: naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, and bupropion, which is used to treat depression or help people quit smoking
  • May make you feel less hungry or full sooner
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • insomnia
  • liver damage
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • Do not use if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, seizures, or a history of anorexia or bulimia nervosa
  • Do not use if you are dependent on opioid pain medications or are withdrawing from drugs or alcohol
  • Do not use if you are taking bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban)
liraglutide (Saxenda)

Given daily by injection

Adults and children ages 12 years and older
  • Mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake
  • At a lower dose under a different name, Victoza, this drug was FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • headache
  • increased heart rate
  • May increase the chance of developing pancreatitis
  • Has been found to cause a rare type of thyroid tumor in animals
semaglutide (Wegovy)7

Given weekly by injection

  • Mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake
  • Under different names and dosages, this drug was FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes as an injectable medication (Ozempic) and as an oral pill (Rybelsus)
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • Do not use in combination with other semaglutide-containing products, other GLP-1 receptor agonists, or other products intended for weight loss, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal products
  • May increase the chance of developing pancreatitis
  • Has been found to cause a rare type of thyroid tumor in animals
setmelanotide (IMCIVREE)

Available by injection only

People ages 6 years and older with obesity due to three specific rare genetic conditions only
  • May reduce appetite and increase feeling of fullness
  • May increase resting metabolism (how the body burns calories)
  • Although it can help a person lose weight, it does not treat the genetic defects
  • injection site reaction
  • skin darkening
  • nausea
  • disturbance in sexual arousal
  • depression and suicidal ideation
  • risk of serious adverse reactions in neonates and infants with low birthweight, owing to benzyl alcohol preservative
Only for people with any of these ultra-rare genetic diseases, confirmed by genetic testing
  • proopiomelanocortin (POMC) deficiency
  • proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 1 (PCSK1) deficiency
  • leptin receptor (LEPR) deficiency

Do not use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

(Other medications that curb your desire to eat include)
  • phentermine
  • benzphetamine
  • diethylpropion
  • phendimetrazine
  • Increases chemicals in your brain to make you feel you are not hungry or that you are full
  • Note: FDA-approved only for short-term use—up to 12 weeks
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness
  • feeling nervous
  • feeling restless
  • headache
  • raised blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • Do not use if you have heart disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, or glaucoma
  • Tell your health care professional if you have severe anxiety or other mental health problems

How do health care professionals use prescription medications “off-label” to treat overweight and obesity?

Sometimes health care professionals use medications in a way that’s different from what the FDA has approved. That’s called “off-label” use. By choosing an off-label medication to treat overweight and obesity, your health care professional may prescribe

  • a drug approved for treating a different medical problem
  • two or more drugs at the same time
  • a drug for a longer time period than approved by the FDA

You should feel comfortable asking whether your health care professional is prescribing a medication that is not approved for treating overweight and obesity. Before using a medication, learn all you need to know about it.

What other medications for weight loss may be available in the future?

Researchers are currently studying several new medications and combinations of medications in animals and people. Researchers are working to identify safer and more effective medications to help people who are overweight or have obesity lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for a long time.

Future drugs may use new strategies, such as

  • regulating several gut hormones at the same time
  • targeting specific genes that cause obesity
  • allowing people to lose body fat without losing muscle during weight loss
  • changing bacteria in the gut to control weight

Clinical Trials for Prescription Medications to Treat Overweight and Obesity

The NIDDK conducts and supports clinical trials in many diseases and conditions, including overweight and obesity. The trials look to find new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease and improve quality of life.

What are clinical trials for prescription medications to treat overweight and obesity?

Clinical trials—and other types of clinical studies—are part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help health care professionals and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.

Researchers are studying many aspects of prescription medications to treat overweight or obesity, such as

  • the effect of the FDA-approved medication liraglutide (Saxenda, Victoza) on weight loss and gastric functions (stomach emptying effect) in people who are overweight or have obesity
  • adolescents and young adults who don’t achieve expected weight loss or who still have severe obesity after undergoing weight-loss surgery
  • patients who have obesity and binge-eating disorder
  • women who are overweight or have obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome

Find out if clinical studies are right for you.

Watch a video of NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers explaining the importance of participating in clinical trials.

What clinical studies for prescription medications to treat overweight and obesity are looking for participants?

You can view a filtered list of clinical studies on prescription medications to treat overweight and obesity that are federally funded, open, and recruiting at You can expand or narrow the list to include clinical studies from industry, universities, and individuals; however, the NIH does not review these studies and cannot ensure they are safe. Always talk with your health care provider before you participate in a clinical study.




Adenoiditis: Causes, who is at risk, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment | Health




Adenoiditis is a type of health condition wherein the adenoids (tissue behind the nose and above the throat) gets inflamed and it is common among children and leads to problems like snoring, mouth breathing, recurrent ear infections, decreased hearing, difficulty in breathing, cracked lips, runny nose and bad breath. Adenoiditis occurs when there is inflammation of the adenoid tissue resulting from infection, allergies or irritation from stomach acid as a component of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

Adenoiditis: Causes, who is at risk, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, side effects, treatment (Photo by Twitter/DrMary_Alphonse)
Adenoiditis: Causes, who is at risk, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, side effects, treatment (Photo by Twitter/DrMary_Alphonse)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Nitty Mathew, Senior Specialist – ENT at Aster CMI Hospital, revealed, “Adenoiditis is usually caused by an infection of adenoids. Adenoids become apparent by 2 years of age and regress in size after 8 years. If these remain swollen for a prolonged time, then they can become problematic.”

Highlighting who is at risk of developing adenoiditis, she shared that since adenoids usually shrink by adulthood, children are most susceptible to its infection. They can be more prone to developing adenoiditis if the child is

● Bottle fed

● Breast fed in lying down position


● Have an infection near the nose or throat

● Suffering from an allergy

According to her, the symptoms of adenoiditis include:

● Stuffy and blocked nose

● Snoring


● Sleep apnea

● Cracked lips, dry mouth

● Glue ear

● Ear pain and infections

● Swollen neck glands


She said, “To diagnose adenoiditis, your doctor will conduct a check-up of your child’s nose, ears, mouth and throat. In case the symptoms are worse, your doctor may also suggest he/she undergo an X-ray to see degree of enlargement of adenoids and obstruction of nasal airway.”

Talking about the side effects of adenoiditis, Dr Nitty Mathew pointed out that the complications of untreated adenoiditis include –

● Runny nose

● Recurrent ear infections, decreased hearing

● Dry mouth, Dental caries


● Speaking with a nasal tone

● Adenoid facies

The health expert added, “Adenoid facies is defined as the open -mouthed appearance in children, associated with a narrow nose, shortened upper lip, narrow palate, high palatal vault and dental crowding.” She concluded, “Usually by 8years of age adenoids regress, but keeping good hygiene can prevent repeated infections. Mild symptoms warrants only supportive treatment, but if your doctor suspects any bacterial infection then the child will have to be treated with antibiotics and then kept on nasal sprays to decrease the size of adenoids. In case the medications are not bringing intended relief of symptoms, then a surgery called adenoidectomy to remove the enlarged adenoids will have to be done.”

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Researchers explain: What causes long Covid breathing problems




Researchers at Stanford University have found that people are experiencing breathing problems post Covid-19 due to a condition known as lung fibrosis in which the damaged lungs form scar tissue, that makes it difficult for the lungs to expand and contract.

The research showed that overactivity of genes that regulate inflammation and immune responses leads to lung fibrosis.

Long Covid cases can be severely debilitating and resistant to treatment, said Gerlinde Wernig, Assistant Professor of pathology, at Stanford University.

What`s worse, lung function can continue to decline, even without a new Covid-19 infection, Wernig said.


The finding published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers hope that, one day, targeted drugs could intervene to quell the genes behind the damage.

In the study, the team started by looking at lung tissue samples from five Covid-19 patients who had symptoms of the disease — such as shortness of breath — for one or more months. The lungs of people who had symptoms after infection with SARS-CoV-2 looked like the lungs of people with end-stage pulmonary fibrosis.

By analysing single cells from the patients` tissue samples, the scientists also saw similarities in the pattern of RNA production — which can hint a cell`s overall function — between samples of tissue from long Covid patients and samples from patients with pulmonary fibrosis.

“We saw this same pattern across all human Covid lung samples,” Wernig said.

As with other lung infections, the initial Covid-19 infection in the lungs kicked off an inflammatory process. In the case of long-Covid patients, however, the immune dysfunction keeps going long after the virus is gone — similar to what happens in chronic pulmonary fibrosis.


To test whether lung fibrosis could be firmly connected to Covid infections, they looked at lung fibrosis in mice infected with a SARS-CoV-2-like virus and found significant increases in fibrosis and immune dysfunction.

“Innate immune cells go crazy after that infection,” Wernig said, referring to the part of the immune system that forms the first line of defence against pathogens.

In a mouse model engineered to more closely represent human biology, researchers showed that, when the mice contracted SARS-CoV-2, scarring in the lung tissues shot up, as did levels of immune cells interleukin-6, CD47 and pJUN. There was also a bright side to these experiments.

“When we did the same experiments but blocked CD47 and Il-6, we saw very little fibrosis,” Wernig said. “This hints at possible treatments for long Covid involving drugs that carry out targeted immune blockades.”

Also Read: Mumbai: All wards have Covid-19 cases; only one critical


This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

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89Bio’s NASH drug meets main goals of mid-stage study, Health News, ET HealthWorld




89Bio's NASH drug meets main goals of mid-stage study

New Delhi: Drug developer 89Bio Inc said on Wednesday its treatment for a liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis met the main goals of a mid-stage trial, sending its shares up 50 per cent in premarket trading.

The company’s experimental drug, Pegozafermin, demonstrated at least one-stage fibrosis improvement without worsening of NASH and NASH resolution without worsening of fibrosis in both trial doses.

89Bio said the data supports advancement to late-stage development.

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