Alli Weight Loss Medication

Weight loss medications are prescribed for those people who are classified as obese. These medications should be used only by those who have a body mass index (BMI) above 30 with no obesity-related problems and those who have a BMI above 27 with risk factors. One should, however, always remember that these weight loss medications must always be used accompanied by a suitable dietary program and physical activity. Consulting a doctor before using such medications is essential as serious complications have been found in some users although most side effects of prescription weight loss drugs are believed to be mild.

Weight loss medications are used only on a short-term basis, often for a maximum period of three months, and can never be used as a substitute for lifestyle changes. Most available weight loss medications at present are "appetite suppressants." Appetite suppressants cause weight loss by creating an illusion that you are not hungry or that you are full even if the truth is otherwise. They diminish appetite by increasing serotonin or catecholamine -- two brain chemicals that influence mood and appetite.

These drugs are normally available as tablets or extended-release capsules (pills that release medication over a long period of time). These medications are available over-the-counter or by a doctor's prescription. A familiar example of such a drug that can suppress appetite is Meridia.

About a decade or so earlier, medical professionals also prescribed the popular appetite suppressant Redux or the combination of phentermine and fenfluramine, called "phen-fen." However, fenfluramine (Pondimin) and Redux had to be withdrawn from the market in 1997 because they were found causing damage to heart valves. However, phentermine is still available by prescription. Using phentermine only has not been linked with the harmful effects of the fenfluramine-phentermine combination.

Fat absorption inhibitor is another type of prescription weight loss medication. These medications work by preventing your body from breaking down and absorbing fat eaten with your meals. This unabsorbed fat is flushed out with the help of bowel movements.

Xenical is the only drug belonging to this category that is approved in the United States for use. It works by preventing about 30% of dietary fat from being absorbed. Xenical can now be bought over-the-counter as Alli.

Although Xenical and Meridia are the only weight loss medications approved for longer-term use in significantly obese people, the safety and effectiveness of these drugs have not been established for use beyond two years. New varieties of drugs are being studied as potential treatments for obesity. In a positive sign, some of them are showing promise and may be available in the not-too-distant future.

As far as effectiveness of weight loss drugs are concerned, Xenical and Meridia can be called moderately effective, leading to an average weight loss of 5 to 22 pounds over a one-year period, better than what might be achieved with non-drug treatments. However, the response to such drugs varies from individual to individual and one may achieve more weight loss than another.

But in all cases, you must consult a medical practitioner about the possible risks and concerns associated with the use of such weight loss medications such as addiction, developed tolerance and dangerous side effects.