Anti-obesity medication or weight loss medications are pharmacological agents that reduce or control weight. These medications alter one of the fundamental processes of the human body, weight regulation, by altering either appetite, or absorption of calories. The main treatment modalities for overweight and individuals with obesity remain dieting (healthy diet and caloric restriction) and physical exercise.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2020)
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In the United States orlistat (Xenical) and semaglutide (Wegovy) are currently approved by the FDA for long-term use. Xenical reduces intestinal fat absorption by inhibiting pancreatic lipase; Wegovy is a GLP-1 analogue, a class of drugs that is relatively recent and which has promise as an effective anti-obesity measure.
Because of potential side effects, and limited evidence of small benefits in weight reduction for children and adolescents with obesity, it is recommended that anti-obesity medications only be prescribed for obesity where it is hoped that the benefits of the treatment outweigh its risks.[needs update] In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration advocates that people with either a body-mass index of at least 30, or a body-mass index of at least 27 with at least one weight-related comorbidity, represent a patient population with sufficiently high baseline health risks to justify the use of anti-obesity medication.