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Healthy Weight Center

Do Any Weight Loss Meds Actually Work?

03/11/2009

Question:

Are there any over the counter legit weight loss drugs? I am on the road all the time and sticking to a diet is very hard. I walk everyday and do about 30 minutes of weight training 4 days a week. but I have not been able to shed the pounds. I am 35 and 5`8" 235lbs.

Answer:

Many experts state that the most successful weight loss program includes reduction of calories and exercising at least 150 minutes each week.  Behavioral and mental changes in eating habits, physical activity, and attitudes about food and weight are also essential to weight management. 

Calorie restriction is the cornerstone of weight loss therapy.  In general, one pound of fat equals about 3500 calories.  So, one could lose one pound per week by reducing caloric intake by about 500 calories per day.  It is recommended that fat intake be no more than 30% of total calories. 

People who are able to reduce calories, engage in an exercise program, and obtain help in making behavioral changes can expect to lose between 5% and 10% of their current body weight.  Losing a significant amount of weight requires both intensive exercise and calorie restriction. 

Over-the counter weight loss products may be an option to assist a patient in losing weight.  However, there are many false or misleading claims made by manufacturers of over-the-counter weight loss agents.  Many of these products are considered dietary supplements, and as such, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not tested for safety and effectiveness.

Over-the-counter weight loss products may interact with prescription medications and may aggravate a current health condition.  Contact your physician before beginning any weight loss program.  Your physician can help you find the safest, most effective method of weight loss for you. 

Prepared by Holly Smith, PharmD Candidate, University of Cincinnati

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Response by:

Jan Scaglione, MT, PharmD, D.ABAT
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati