How Appetite Suppressants Work; Prescription & Over the Counter Appetite Suppressant Types

Appetite suppressants are designed to curb your feelings of hunger and promote a feeling of fullness, which can be helpful with weight loss. How prescription appetite suppressants generally work is they drive up the levels of appetite controlling neurotransmitters in your brain, specifically serotonin or catecholamine.

Because obesity can cause some very serious health risks and it’s generally consider a chronic illness, prescription appetite suppressants can assist those with a high BMI control their weight and possibly preclude weight associated diseases, like:

  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • some cancers

And getting your weight down with the help of appetite suppressants can significantly lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin resistance.

There are several types of prescription appetite suppressants that are currently approved for obesity, phentermine and sibutramine are the most frequently prescribed ones. Some others include:

  • mazindole
  • diethylpropion
  • phendimetrazine

All these prescription appetite suppressants, except sibutramine, are approved for short-term use only, as in a few weeks or a month at the most.

Sibutramine appetite suppressant can be used for a year, or potentially longer, so long as your blood pressure is monitored regularly. And those with a history of these health conditions should not use this type of appetite suppressant:

  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • irregular heartbeat
  • high blood pressure

Sometimes antidepressants are prescribed as an appetite suppressant, but most usually lose weight initially and then regain it. And amphetamines are an appetite suppressant as well. However, they’re addictive, so this suppressor of appetite is not generally prescribed for weight control.

Drug side effects of prescription appetite suppressants tend to be mild. Yet, because how some of these drugs work is by affecting catecholamine levels, you could experience sleeplessness, nervousness and euphoria.

Pulmonary hypertension is an extremely rare potential complication with prescription appetite suppressant when they’re used beyond 3 months. If this your case, you need to contact your health care provider ASAP should you experience any of these symptom:

  • dyspnea
  • faintness
  • chest pain
  • lower extremity edema

The greatest concern involves fenfluarmine or dexfenfluramine appetite suppressants, which have been taken off the market in the U.S.

Orlistat is a type of drug used to treat obesity, but it’s not an appetite suppressant. Instead it’s a type of weight control drug known as lipase inhibitors. How it works is by preventing certain enzymes from breaking down fats for absorption. The less fat absorbed, the fewer calories available for cellulite production. Alli is a lower dose of orlistat, which is available over the counter.

Moving on to the “over the counter” type of appetite suppressants. Products that do not require a prescription and claim to suppress your appetite can be sold with limited proof of effectiveness. However, once they do hit the market they are subjected to FDA monitoring.

How many over the counter appetite suppressants work is that in theory their fiber or bulking agents are suppose to provide you with a sense of fullness. Generlly, this theory of weight loss has not been proven.

Presently, Hoodia is receiving much attention as an over the counter appetite suppressant. Although it’s been reported that native Africans use hoodia to quell hunger, there’s no solid scientific evidence it’s effective for weight loss. Hoodia gordonii is a native plant of the Kalahari Desert.

The reality is that there’s no magic formula available for avoiding the old standards in weight loss. Still the most effective way to reduce your weight is by eating healthy, low in calorie foods, reducing the amount you do eat and sustaining a more physically active lifestyle.

And since nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant as well, it’s often the weight gain factor that deters some from stopping its use, i.e. smoking.

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