Anti-obesity drugs are medications formulated to reduce or control weight. These pharmacological treatments are prescribed by a medical doctor. They generally are reserved for cases of life-threatening obesity and not for patients who are simply dieting. This strictness of use is because of the alteration of vital processes that take place in the body when these drugs are taken. The processes that can be affected include normal stimulation of the appetite, an increase in the body's metabolism and interference with the absorption of some nutrients.
The brain has what is known as cannabinoid receptors, which are involved in the normal stimulation of the appetite. Some studies have shown that anti-obesity drugs that interfere with or block these receptors have produced dangerous side effects. Depression that might be severe enough to cause suicidal thoughts in some patients was one of the reasons why the United States' Food and Drug Administration refused to approve a drug called Acomplia®. Other anti-obesity drugs affect a partial or total block of the breakdown of fats, thereby inhibiting proper absorption of fat. Although morbidly obese people usually have a need to decrease their intake of fatty foods, fats nevertheless are nutrients vital for proper health.
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Generally, most medical doctors attempt to achieve healthy weight loss in their patients via proper diet, regular physical exercise and modification of behavior. If such methods fail to reduce weight by at least 10 percent after three months of following a weight loss program, anti-obesity drugs might be prescribed. Obese people who take these drugs are still urged to naturally control weight with a healthy diet, a regular exercise plan and changes in eating habits.
There are two types of anti-obesity drugs: those that affect the gastrointestinal system and those that affect the central nervous system. Anti-obesity drugs that affect the gastrointestinal system, such as orlistat, are pancreatic lipase inhibitors because they interfere with the proper absorption of fats. Those that affect the central nervous system work to suppress a person's appetite.
Adequate weight loss is not usually achieved with drugs, which is why some nutritionists discourage their use in most cases. Patients who are prescribed such medications might want to ensure that they're receiving proper attention by considering certain aspects of their care. Their care usually should be overseen by health care providers trained in the management of obesity. They should be aware of specific weight loss goals that they need to meet and should be encouraged to do physical exercise on a regular basis. All patients taking anti-obesity drugs might want to be fully aware of the health risks involved with such medications.
There are some all natural alternatives to anti-obesity drugs in the form of herbs such as chickweed. Substances known as saponins are present in chickweed and help to dissolve fat and assist in the balancing of the body's metabolism. The side effects associated with taking chemical drugs are very rarely observed when taking all-natural herbal medicines to help reduce weight.