Benefits of Anti-Obesity Medications
Anti-Obesity medicines are thought of as weight loss medicines. However, these medicines typically first induce changes in eating behavior leading to reduction in food intake followed by weight loss. These drugs are also used to prevent weight gain after gastric bypass surgery or after other bariatric surgical procedures. They are also used for patients whose weight loss plateaus following bariatric surgery.
Adding one or a combination of these medicines may prevent weight regain following bariatric surgery or even induce further weight loss. They are also used to prevent or retard weight gain in patients who gain weight when taking a variety of other medicines such as antidepressants, birth control drugs, prednisone(steroids), and numerous other medicines known to induce weight gain.
While most commonly these drugs are used to improve weight loss efforts, they are also used long-term after weight loss to assist with maintenance. Of course weight loss is induced by a diet – a lower caloric intake, or more specifically by a lower intake of carbohydrate calories. But patients who are prescribed an anti-obesity medicine coupled with a diet change lose more weight at a faster pace. Why?
Because their eating behavior changes and they eat less than before. Once we thought this eating less was just suppression of appetite but now we know it’s much more complicated than that. A daily dose of an anti-obesity medicine actually helps you control and change your eating behavior. Food cravings may subside or disappear, you may be satisfied with less food, and you may have better control over your stress or emotional eating. Of course not everyone has the same eating behavioral problems, and not everyone reacts the same to the medicines, but these are some of the effects our patients using these medicines report.
In fact, our research indicates there are at least 12 separate problem-eating traits that benefit from the medicines. Actually we believe there are quite a few other problem-eating behaviors that can be helped with the medicines. We are continuing with our research into how our patients respond to anti-obesity drugs and now have evidence that these drugs help patients improve their eating behaviors. These beneficial changes occur quickly as soon as a patient starts taking any anti-obesity drug and continue as long as the patient takes the drug. Patients on maintenance who have been on phentermine for as long as 25 years report they still have beneficial changes in their eating behaviors.