New guidance from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) in 2022 recommends the use of prescription weight loss drugs, in addition to making lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. It provided a great summary of the FDA-approved medications along with helpful information on their safety and efficacy. The recommended weight loss drugs are Wegovy, Qysmia, Saxenda, Tirzepatide, and Contrave.
Just diet and exercise alone for the purpose of weight loss typically fail in the long term because obesity is a biological disease that more often than not requires pharmaceutical interventions. It’s a good thing that lots of weight loss drugs have been approved by the FDA in past years.
Best Weight Loss Drugs 2022: Summary of Weight Loss Prescription Drugs Including Wegovy and Tirzepatide!
As per new guidance from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) in 2022, it is recommended that people with obesity use prescription weight-loss drugs, along with making lifestyle changes like exercise and diet, to meet their weight-loss goals. The 2022 guidelines shed light on multiple drugs that had already been approved by the FDA such as Wegovy, Qysmia, Saxenda, Tirzepatide, and Contrave. Let’s find out more about those drugs!
Semaglutide (Wegovy) is the first once-weekly medication in its class that has been approved to help with chronic weight management by the FDA. It was originally approved in 2017 to help control blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes at a lower dose under the brand name Ozempic. This weight loss drug works best when used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.
Wegovy is an injectable glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist that’s administered once every week. It can be used by adults with a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 mg/kg² alone or 27 mg/kg² with at least one weight-related condition (e.g., high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes).
The clinical trial held for evaluation of Wegovy showed that people taking semaglutide had a weight loss of almost 15% of their initial body weight which is about 12% more than those who didn’t take the medication.
The common side effects of Wegocy include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, headache, fatigue, indigestion, dizziness, and gastrointestinal problems. These effects may be felt more strongly in case people increase their dose of the weight loss drug.
Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate extended-release capsules) has been approved as a supplemental indication by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for chronic weight management in pediatric patients aged 12 years and older who are obese. By obese, they mean anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of 95th percentile or greater when standardized for age and sex. This weight loss drug should be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
For the evaluation of the weight loss drug, a 56-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted of 223 individuals who were unable to lose weight or maintain weight loss with changes to their eating habits or exercise routine, wherein the participants were randomly assigned to receive Qsymia 7.5 mg/46 mg (n=54), Qsymia 15 mg/92 mg (n=113), or placebo (n=56) once a day after a titration period to their assigned dose.
On the completion of the study, it was discovered that the participants who were assigned Qsymia 7.5 mg/46 mg and Qsymia 15 mg/92 mg lost, on average, 4.8% and 7.1% of their BMI, respectively, while those that were given the placebo gained an average of 3.3% of their BMI.
This weight loss drug does not seem as effective as tirzepatide because the results are not as significant and because of side effects the medication causes as well, which include depression, dizziness, joint pain, fever, flu, and ankle sprain (in children), and dizziness, an altered or impaired sense of taste, insomnia, constipation, and dry mouth (in the adult).
Rumors that the FDA had approved a new weight loss drug called tirzepatide, or a brand name Mounjaro were flying in the spring of 2022. But as it turned out, it had been only approved for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. However, clinical trials held for the medication showed a significant amount of weight loss which could mean that this drug could be used for the treatment of obesity in the future. It apparently promise 10% to 25% weight loss with little more than just a weekly injection.
The trial showed that the highest dose of the drug, which is 15 milligrams, can decrease body weight on average by 28.4 pounds – which constitutes nearly about 14% of the total body weight – in people without diabetes. To get a more clear picture of it, for instance, for someone who weighs about 200 pounds, they lose on average about 28 pounds which is really significant.
And on those with Type 2 diabetes, it was found that people lost almost 21% of their total amount of weight on the highest dose. The results are more impressive to them.
Saxenda is part of a medication class glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists that have been FDA-approved for chronic weight management. The weight loss drug is said to work best when used in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity. It is injected once every day and is available as a multi-dose injection pen that can deliver five different doses, ranging from 0.6 mg (starting dose) to 3 mg (target dose).
Saxenda was approved to use for weight loss purposes in adults with a BMI of 30 kg/m2, or higher. It was also approved among adults with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 with at least one weight-related health condition (like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol). In 2020, the approval was expanded to include adolescents ages 12 and older with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher who weigh at least 132 lbs (60 kg).
Contrave is a weight loss drug that is the combination of two drugs already approved for other indications. One is naltrexone, which is used against alcohol, and the another is opioid dependence, and bupropion, an antidepressant. The drug has been approved by the FDA for use for weight loss purposes in obese adults (body mass index of 30 or over) or overweight adults (BMI of 27 or over) with at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or elevated cholesterol on 10 September 2014.
After the evaluation of Contrave, it was concluded that the patients taking the medicine should be examined after 12 weeks of treatment and those who have failed to have a weight loss of at least 5% of their body weight should discontinue the use of the drug.