Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Best Weight Loss Medicine

With so many supplements and weight loss medications on the market, many dieters aren't sure which are safe and effective. According to the Mayo Clinic, many weight-loss supplements in the natural-foods aisle aren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and they might be unsafe. However, there are over-the-counter and prescription medications that can safely help shed extra pounds.

Over-the-Counter Medications

    The FDA has approved an over-the-counter medication to treat weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Alli, which is a reduced-strength version of prescription orlistat, decreases the amount of fat absorbed by the intestines. This over-the-counter medication is taken three times daily at meals.

    For best results when taking Alli, eat a low-fat and low-calorie diet, the Mayo Clinic advises. If fat consumption is too high, this medication can cause side effects such as gas and diarrhea.

Prescription Medications

    Two prescription medications that have received approval by the FDA for long-term weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sibutramine (also known as Meridia) is taken once daily. A 30-day supply will cost up to $213 if your insurance doesn't cover it. Side effects can include high blood pressure, headaches, constipation and trouble sleeping.

    Orlistat, which is also known as Xenical, is taken three times each day. The cost for a 30-day supply is up to $380, according to the Mayo Clinic. Side effects can include oily bowel movements, bloating and abdominal pain.

    There are also short -prescription medications that can be taken for a few months, such as Adipex-P. Short-term medications often lead to short-term weight loss, the Mayo Clinic reports. Side effects of this medication can include nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

Supplements to Avoid

    Although there are dozens of weight-loss supplements on the market, the Mayo Clinic cautions against certain ones. Avoid bitter orange, which is a dietary supplement that may cause heart issues; it's similar to the drug ephedrine. Also avoid country mallow (also known as heartleaf) and ephedrine.


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