What Is Obesity Medicine?

Obesity medications can be a powerful ally in your efforts to lose weight, particularly when more traditional efforts have not produced the desired results. But these medications are not meant to replace other weight-loss strategies and should be used in conjunction with exercise, diet and behavioral changes.

At the Orlando Health Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Institute, our doctors, nurses, dietitians and counselors will work with you to determine if obesity medication has a place in your individualized treatment plan.

How Is Obesity Treated?

Losing weight can be a challenge for many people. And there is no such thing as a quick and easy fix. At the Orlando Health Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Institute, our compassionate team will work with you to build a customized treatment plan based on your weight-loss goals and your body’s ability to meet those goals.

An effective plan will include some combination of lifestyle and dietary changes. The goal is to put you on a pathway to more nutritional eating habits, a more active lifestyle and healthier choices. There are times, however, when diet and lifestyle changes alone are not enough. In those cases, surgery or weight-loss medications may be an option.

Benefits of Weight Loss Medicine

There are numerous weight-loss medications available, administered as injections or pills. Your team will work with you to determine which drug is best for you. Among the things to consider are cost (not all of them are covered by insurance), side effects and your own health.

Weight loss can lower your blood pressure and reduce the amount of sugar and fats (triglycerides) in your bloodstream. This can reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, heart attack and stroke. A lower body weight can also help with urinary incontinence, sleep apnea and depression, while improving your mobility and overall quality of life.

Many patients lose 10 percent to 15 percent of their body weight while using these medications, which must be continued to keep the weight off. Even that modest amount of weight loss can have significant benefits for your health.

Who Qualifies for Obesity Medicine Treatment?

If traditional weight loss methods -- diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications -- have not worked, you may benefit from obesity medicine. Among the options are tirzepatide, semaglutide, liraglutide, phentermine/topiramate, bupropione/naltrexone and orlistat. Each works differently, but they help by suppressing appetite, reducing your body’s ability to absorb fat and making you feel full faster. Among those patients who might benefit:

  • Adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher
  • Adults with a BMI of 27 or higher who have obesity-related health conditions, including high blood pressure or heart disease
  • Adults who have not met their weight-loss goals (at least 5 percent of total body weight)

BMI is a measure of body fat, based on your height and weight. You can find a calculator here.

How To Maintain Weight Loss

Setting a weight loss goal is an important step in reducing your weight. Even losing 5 percent of your body weight can have significant health benefits. Keeping the weight off requires a commitment to consuming fewer calories, weighing yourself frequently and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Unfortunately, successful weight loss is not always a matter of self-control or willpower. Relying on that alone may lead to repeated failures as your body tends to revert to a “set point” determined by your body’s natural amount of fat tissue.

Other Treatment Options

Bariatric surgery may be an option when traditional weight loss methods haven’t worked, or if you have serious health problems related to your weight. There are different types of bariatric surgeries, which work by reducing how much you can eat or your body’s ability to absorb fat and calories.

Request a Consultation

At the Orlando Health Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Institute, our doctors offer the latest and most advanced procedures, including robotic-assisted and minimally invasive surgeries. Learn more about these procedures.