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    How weight loss treatments can help you lose weight

    On this page
    1. Do weight loss treatments actually work?
    2. How do weight loss treatments work?
    3. How quickly do weight loss treatments works?
    4. What are the best weight loss treatments for you? 
    5. How to get the best results from weight loss pills
    6. Are weight loss treatments safe?

    Reviewed by Dr Bhavini Shah

    Different weight loss treatments

    Losing weight is all about cutting back on calories and getting more active. However, everybody is different, and that means for some people weight loss can be a lot harder – even with the right kind of diet and exercise.

    For people who are overweight, which it's now thought is around 69% of men and 59% of women, and really struggling to slim down, weight loss treatments like Xenical might be a good option. There are also weight loss injections like Mounjaro®, Wegovy® or Saxenda® daily injections, which uses an injection. Read on to find out if you might suitable.

    Do weight loss treatments actually work?

    The weight loss treatments mentioned above, work in very different ways, but can be effective weight loss aids when used as part of a healthy lifestyle.

    How do weight loss treatments work?

    Xenical (orlistat)

    Xenical is the brand name for orlistat, a weight loss pill that helps to reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs from your diet. Xenical can be prescribed to any adult with a BMI over 30, or alternatively any adult with a BMI over 28 who has weight-related health issues.

    Orlistat is designed to be taken with every meal that contains fat. It works by attaching to the enzymes in your digestive system that break down fat – by doing so, it prevents about one third of the fat in your diet from being digested. Instead, the fat passes out of your body in your stools.

    For Xenical or Orlistat to be effective, you should do the following:

    • Eat a healthy, balanced and calorie-controlled diet  
    • Get 30% of your daily calories from fat 
    • Avoid skipping meals and snacking – eat three proper meals each day 
    • Take one tablet with every meal you eat that contains fat – you can take it up to one hour after eating 
    • Don’t take a tablet if you skip a meal or eat a meal containing zero fat 
    • Take no more than three Xenical tablets in one day

    Orlistat is available as prescription strength. A lower dose version of orlistat is available over the counter (without a prescription) under the brand name Alli. This lower strength orlistat isn’t as effective as Xenical (it only reduces fat digestion by one quarter) but it can still be a good weight loss option for people with a BMI over 28.

    You can find out more about Xenical, Orlistat and Alli by reading this article: What’s the difference between Orlistat, Xenical and Alli?

    Wegovy®/semaglutide for weight loss 

    Wegovy® is a weight loss injection which is taken weekly. The active ingredient, semaglutide suppresses your appetite and regulates your food intake. It helps you feel fuller for longer and less hungry. This helps you to eat less and potentially lose weight.  It works best when used alongside a diet and exercise regimen.

    These injections can be used by people who have a BMI over 30 or a BMI over 27 who have weight-related health issues. 

    You can request this treatment through an online consultation with us. 

    Mounjaro®/ tirzepatide for weight loss

    Mounjaro® is a weekly weight loss injection. It contains the active ingredient tirepatide which suppresses your appetite and helps to regulate your blood sugars. The rate at which your food leaves your stomach is also better regulated. These help you to lose weight alongside a healthy balanced diet.  

    Like Wegovy®, injections can be used by people who have a BMI over 30 or a BMI over 27 who have weight-related health issues.  If suitable, this treatment is available through a simple online consultation.  

    Saxenda®/liraglutide for weight loss

    Saxenda® (which contains the active ingredient liraglutide) is a daily weight loss injection that works by making you feel full and sated.

    You can request this treatment through an online consultation with us.

    The injection contains the active ingredient liraglutide, which is similar to a hormone that our bodies naturally release after eating. Liraglutide works by acting on the appetite receptors in the brain, making you feel more full and less hungry.

    These injections can be given to people with a BMI over 30, or to people with a BMI over 28 who have weight-related health issues. For the treatment to be effective, it should be administered once a day in a dose specified by your GP or pharmacist. You’ll also need to be on a diet and exercise regime while receiving the injections.

    How quickly do weight loss treatments works?

    Both Xenical/Orlistat and Saxenda® are designed to be used for an initial period of 12 weeks. After the 12 weeks have passed, you’ll check in with your doctor or pharmacist to see how much weight you’ve lost.

    If you’ve lost at least 5% of your initial body weight, treatment can continue. If you haven’t lost the required amount, treatment will stop.

    With Wegovy® and Mounjaro® you start on an initial dose for four weeks. If you can handle any side effects and are losing weight then you can start to increase your dose. Find out more about increasing your dose over time.  

    Are weight loss medications effective?

    Wegovy®

    In clinical trials 85% of people using Wegovy® following a reduced-calories diet and increased exercise plan lost at least 5% of their starting weight after over 68 weeks.

    After a year two thirds of people lost 15% of their starting weight.

    Mounjaro®

    96% of patients on 15mg dose lost at least 5% of their body weight in a clinical study. The average weight loss was 22.5% of their original weight on the 15mg dose. In addition, 89.4% (5 mg), 96.2% (10 mg) and 96.3% (15 mg) of patients taking tirzepatide lost at least 5% of their body weight compared to 27.9% of those taking the placebo. 

    Xenical (Orlistat)

    One clinical study found that Xenical and Orlistat had the following effects: 

    • 60% of people taking orlistat lost at least 5% of their baseline bodyweight after 12 weeks
    • Of these people, 62% lost at least 10% of their baseline bodyweight after one year of treatment

    Saxenda®

    One clinical study found that Saxenda® had the following effects: 

    • 67.5% of people using the injections lost at least 5% of their baseline bodyweight after 12 weeks 
    • A predicted 51% of people who achieve this early positive response should achieve weight loss of at least 10% after one year

    Weight loss results with these treatments vary depending upon the person. It’s very likely you’ll see better results if you stick to a low-calorie diet and exercise regularly.

    What are the best weight loss treatments for you? 

    Your clinician will be able to advise on what might be the right weight loss medication for you. Whether it's in an appointment or through an online service like ours, a clinician will assess your medical history and suitability for certain treatments. 

    How to get the best results from weight loss pills

    With both Xenical/Orlistat and weight loss injections, it’s really important to follow a healthy, calorie-controlled diet, and to do regular exercise. Your GP or pharmacist should give you some tips on adopting a healthier lifestyle before you start treatment, but you can also find plenty of weight loss resources at the NHS.

    Aim to eat 600 fewer calories each day

    As a guide, the NHS recommends that people trying to lose weight should aim to eat 600 fewer calories each day. 

    Exercise for 150 minutes each week

    The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week – in other words, anything that makes your heart beat faster and leaves you a bit out of breath.

    Cut back on your fat intake

    If you’re taking Xenical or any other type of orlistat, it’s really important to cut back on your fat intake. A high fat content in your diet doesn’t just mean you’re less likely to see results. It can also lead to side effects like fatty or oily poos, stomach pain, and oily discharge from your rectum.

    Are weight loss treatments safe?

    Treatments like Xenical/Orlistat, Mounjaro®, Wegovy® and Saxenda® are safe to use and they’re also being used in the NHS. However, you should always get them through your GP or pharmacist, or through a regulated and safe service like Online Doctor. Ordering them from an unregulated website on the internet isn’t safe.

    Other weight loss treatments that are available in high street pharmacies and health food shops may not be harmful, but they may be ineffective in helping with weight loss.

    References

    https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/2592/smpc
    https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.2592.pdf
    https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6533/smpc#gref
    https://www.saxenda.co.uk/patient-overview/
    https://lloydspharmacy.com/pages/weight-loss-service
    https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/2313/smpc
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/treatment/  
    https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/health-survey-for-england/2021/part-2-overweight-and-obesity
    https://www.novomedlink.com/obesity/products/treatments/wegovy/efficacy-safety/clinical-trial-1-results.html
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-authorises-diabetes-drug-mounjaro-tirzepatide-for-weight-management-and-weight-loss 

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