Medical Weight Loss Supplements – Are They Right for You?

 In Blog, Weight Loss

With over one third of Americans struggling with obesity, weight loss solutions are a major focus in our country. The first course of treatment is, of course, diet and exercise. To achieve significant weight loss, sometimes medical weight loss supplements are used in conjunction with diet and exercise.

These have been controversial over the years. They have been subject to extreme scrutiny by the FDA and the medical profession. There are medical weight loss supplements that have received FDA approval. Under the guidance and care of bariatric physician or a medical weight loss practitioner, safe and successful weight loss can be achieved when these supplements are used as part of an overall weight-loss plan.


Anmedical weight loss supplement, Phentermine is used to suppress your appetite. One of the most commonly prescribed weight-loss medications, it has been FDA approved since 1959.

By stimulating the brain, Phentermine increases activity of the sympathetic nervous system.   This suppresses appetite and decreases cravings while our metabolism is increased. Usually taken in the morning, the supplement lasts about 10-12 hours in most patients.

Phentermine was originally FDA approved for short term weight loss of 12 weeks or less. Under the care of a medical professional, it can safely be taken longer if necessary provided there is no medical reason why you can’t take it.


Belviq controls appetite by activating brain receptors for serotonin. The medical weight loss supplement targets this neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of satiety and satisfaction. It has been FDA approved since 2012. Studies show it can provide up to 56 of effective weight loss and maintenance.

The supplement is meant for those patients with a BMI or body mass index of 30 or over. It is also considered appropriate for those with a BMI of 27 and at least one weight-related health condition such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

For best results, patients are advised to use the medication together with a healthy diet and exercise program. It is recommended that patients discontinue using the supplement if they fail to lose 5% of their body weight after 12 weeks.  If meaningful weight loss is not achieved during this period, longer treatment is unlikely to yield results.


A unique, patented formulation of Phentermine and Topiramate, Osymia reduces the appetite. This medical weight loss supplement allows the patient to eat less and feel more satisfied with what they’ve eaten. FDA approved in 2012, Qsymia is for patients with a BMI of 30 or more. It is also approved for patients with a BMI of 27 and a comorbid health issue such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. The precise mechanism of action of the 2 ingredients on chronic weight management is unknown.

Taken once a day, patients begin by taking the lowest dose, then increasing to the recommended dose. In some circumstances, patients may have their dose increased to the highest dose. It should be used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management.

If the recommended dose of Qsymia does not result in a 3% weight loss after 12 weeks the dose should be increased. If after 12 more weeks on the higher dose they still don’t lose 3%, then the drug should be discontinued.


A more recent medical weight loss supplement, Contrave is a combination of two well-known, previously approved medications, bupropion and naltrexone. FDA approved in 2014, nonclinical studies suggest Contrave affects the hypothalamus and the mesolimbic dopamine circuit. The supplement’s exact neurochemical effects leading to weight loss are not fully understood.

When first taking Contrave, the dose is slowly increased to help the patent adjust to it. The supplement should be taken in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Intended for chronic weight management in patients with a BMI of 30. It may also be used by patients with a BMI of 27 and at least one weight-related comorbid condition. These include hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia.

Obesity almost always causes other significant health issue and is a serious medical condition. Medical weight loss supplements as well the complementing diet and exercise programs supervised by a medical professional can successfully treat obesity.


Saxenda is a GLP-1 analogue, which is a synthetic version of a hormone our stomach releases to slow down digestion and decrease appetite. Originally FDA approved for type two diabetes as the drug Victoza, it was FDA approved in 2014 to treat obesity in non-diabetic patients with a BMI of 27 or higher with comorbid health issues or a BMI of 30 or greater.

Instead of a pill, this medication is given as a subcutaneous injection once daily into the belly or thigh using a very small needle in an auto-injecting pen. It slows down the transit of food through the gastrointestinal tract which reduces the appetite. It also works centrally on the hypothalamus to reduce the feeling of hunger. It will not lower your blood sugar if you have normal blood sugar, however, in diabetic patients it can help to control their blood sugar. It can be used for long term weight loss and maintenance.

Vive Center is proud partners with The Center for Medical Weight Loss, the largest network of physicians specializing in weight loss in the country. Dr. Pinto is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and has served as the National Medical Director of The Center for Medical Weight Loss since October of 2014. He is responsible for educating and training hundreds of doctors across the country. Schedule a consultation today and change your life for the better.

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