What medicines are approved in USA for long-term treatment of obesity?

The Food and Drug Administration has approved two medicines for long-term treatment of obesity:

  • Sibutramine (si-BYOO-tra-meen) suppresses your appetite.
  • Orlistat (OR-li-stat) keeps your body from absorbing fat from the food you eat.

These medicines are for people who:

  • Have a BMI of 30 or higher
  • Have a BMI of 27 or higher and weight-related health problems or health risks

If you take these medicines, you will need to follow a healthy eating and physical activity plan at the same time.

Before taking these medicines, talk with your doctor about the benefits and the side effects.

  • Sibutramine can raise your blood pressure and heart rate. You should not take this medicine if you have a history of high blood pressure, heart problems, or strokes. Other side effects include dry mouth, headache, constipation, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
  • Orlistat may cause diarrhea, cramping, gas, and leakage of oily stool. Eating a low-fat diet can help prevent these side effects. This medicine may also prevent your body from absorbing some vitamins. Talk with your doctor about whether you should take a vitamin supplement.


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