ObesityObesity TreatmentObesity Medication

Let's Talk About Obesity Medication

There are more ways to treat obesity than ever before. Get all the details on the meds that might be part of your plan.

    Our Pro PanelObesity Medication

    We went to the nation's top obesity experts to bring you the most-up-to-date information possible.

    Deborah Bade Horn, D.O., M.P.H.

    Deborah Bade Horn, D.O.Medical Director; Assistant Professor of Surgery

    Center for Obesity Medicine & Metabolic Performance; University of Texas McGovern Medical School
    Donna H. Ryan, M.D.

    Donna H. Ryan, M.D.Professor Emerita

    Pennington Biomedical
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Angela Fitch, M.D.

    Angela Fitch, M.D.Associate Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center, Vice President of the Obesity Medicine Association

    Boston, MA

    Frequently Asked QuestionsObesity Medication

    Which medicine is best for obesity?

    The answer to that depends on the person being treated. Your doctor will take several factors into consideration when choosing a medication to treat your obesity, including any comorbidities you may have; potential side effects of the medication and whether they will be well-tolerated; cost; and more. For instance, Qsymia (phentermine + topiramate ER) works by decreasing hunger and cravings, but individuals with hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, or uncontrolled high blood pressure should avoid it. At the same time, patients with migraines as well as obesity might do especially well on this drug, as Topiramate is an effective migraine medication.

    What do you call a doctor who specializes in obesity?

    An obesity medicine specialist is an expert who has undergone supplemental training in the field of obesity and its various treatments. This type of expert will take your weight and diet history; evaluate related medical and psychological issues you may be experiencing; and partner with you to create an individualized obesity treatment plan, which may include an anti-obesity medication (AOM).

    Can you get anti-obesity medications from your doctor?

    If you and your doctor decide that an AOM is right for you, he or she will prescribe the medication and ask you to return for a check-up around one month (to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals), and again at three months. Generally, the goal with AOMs is to achieve 4% to 5% weight loss after three months at the full prescribing dose. If that hasn’t happened, it may be time to try another AOM.

    Are there hormonal medications that can make you lose weight?

    You may be thinking of a class of medication called GLP-1 agonists, which work by mimicking a hormone that tells your brain your stomach is full. They’ve been described as stepping on the gas pedal in terms of fullness and satiety and pushing on the hunger brake. Saxenda (liraglutide) is an example of an injectable GLP-1 agonist. As with most drugs, side effects are possible; your physician will go over these with you when deciding if this drug is a good match for your obesity.

    Leslie Goldman

    Leslie Goldman


    Leslie Goldman is a health and wellness writer who regularly contributes feature stories and essays to various publications.