Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do weight loss shots work?"
I've been overweight since I was a young girl, and now I'm middle-aged. It seems like I've tried everything, but last week I heard about weight loss shots that keep your appetite down and help you burn off fat. Is this real? Is it safe? How does it work?
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your health. Congratulations on your continued efforts. In general, there are no good medicines for weight loss. Over the years there have been multiple pills and injections that have been developed--unfortunately there are often both ineffective and occasionally unsafe. There are no FDA approved weight loss injections. There may be weight loss supplements that are delivered by injections--however these have not been tested by strict criteria, therefore we cannot comment on how they work. I would not recommend these to my patients, as the benefit is unknown and the risk is there (especially with injections where bleeding and infection are possible). Some of the weight loss pills include: sibutramine, a pill that decreases appetite. This has side effects with high blood pressure and heart disease--and on average only a few pounds worth of effect. Another popular pill is orlistat-which is a pill that blocks fat absorption. In general this can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps. There are a few others, but they also have limited efficacy and serious risks. For some people, a gastric bypass surgery is also on option. Unfortunately, diet/exercise is still the gold standard for weight loss. The supplements can be minimally effective and can be dangerous. I would not recommend trying any of these without specific discussion with your doctor.
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