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The Side Effects of Weight Loss Medication: What You Should Know

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Though exercise and diet alterations are usually advised for weight loss, they don’t always seem to work, so there needs to be another way to help people to do so. With the vast array of weight loss medication available, this is now possible. 

For people with a BMI of over 28, some of the best weight loss medications provide a great way to lose weight and keep it off, making them ideal for those with serious, weight-related health problems.

But what are weight loss medications, and what impact can they have? Take a look as we break down what you need to know.

What Are Weight Loss Medications?

Prescribed by a medical professional, weight loss medications are designed to control a person’s appetite. This is because they can use a synthetic version of the hormone GLP-1, which slows the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine when administered.

Each weight loss medication has its own administration instructions and information, but some can be injected into the body. The dosage is dependent on the individual.

Common Side Effects of Weight Loss Medications

As with any medication, they have numerous common side effects which can impact the patient. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pains
  • Decreased appetite

Some of these side effects, such as vomiting and diarrhoea, can cause dehydration, so it is important to stay hydrated.

Side effects can be more common when initially starting treatment, and can decrease as the body becomes more accustomed to the medication.

This is not a comprehensive list of common symptoms, and each weight loss medication will affect people differently. Read the accompanying information leaflet before using these products.

Serious Side Effects of Weight Loss Medications

More serious side effects can pose bigger risks. These include kidney problems (such as kidney failure), pancreatitis, impact on vision, thyroid tumours (including cancer) and depression.

In the case of kidney problems, this may be due to dehydration. Contact a healthcare professional or seek urgent medical attention if you struggle to drink fluids whilst using this treatment, or if you suffer from serious side effects.

Long-Term Side Effects of Weight Loss Medications

When weight loss medications are used for a longer period of time, they can lead to withdrawal and dependence on the treatment. This is why some of these variations are controlled by a medical professional and should be kept away from pets and children.

Despite the health issues that can occur, weight loss medications can have great long-term impacts on the body. Also, as it is used with exercise, this treatment can motivate you to change your lifestyle for the better and maintain your new weight.

Minimising the Side Effects of Weight Loss Medications

Though the side effects can wear off after a few days of using these medicines, there are several helpful tips you can follow to initially ease your discomfort.

Avoiding greasy food and instead eating simple, low-fat alternatives, such as rice and toast, can help with nausea.

However, avoid lying down after eating, instead think about taking a walk and getting some fresh air outside.

What You Need to Ask Your Doctor before Taking Weight Loss Medication

Before using this medication, it is worth asking your doctor or medical professional any questions you may have, such as:

  • Will any pre-existing conditions cause an adverse effect combined with any weight loss medication?
  • Could over-the-counter medications and supplements have a reduced impact if taken with weight loss medication?
  • Will any stages of pregnancy or breastfeeding pose any concerns to any unborn babies with weight loss medication?

Whilst the answers to some of these questions will depend on the individual patient, they can help to establish how the weight loss medication will affect someone going forward.

If you are considering weight loss medication, speak with your doctor or healthcare professional to see which treatment is right for you.