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Obesity Drug Treatment: How Effective
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How Effective is Obesity Drug Treatment?

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Several weight-loss medications are available to treat obesity. In general, when combined with a calorie-controlled diet, these medications are modestly effective, leading to an average weight loss of 5 to 22 pounds above that expected with non-drug obesity treatments. People respond differently to weight-loss medications, and some people experience more weight loss than others.

Maximum weight loss usually occurs within 6 months of starting medication treatment. Weight then tends to level off or increase during the remainder of treatment.

Studies suggest that if a patient does not lose at least 4 pounds over 4 weeks on a particular medication, then that medication is unlikely to help the patient achieve significant weight loss.

Note: Most prescription weight loss drugs are FDA approved for short-term use only. Few studies have looked at how safe or effective these medications are when taken for more than 1 year.

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