The aim of medical and surgical treatments for obesity is to encourage people to consume fewer calories than they are burning, which means they then use up their fat stores. If people need to keep weight off permanently, the reduction in calories must be ongoing. Most people cannot exercise enough to compensate for overeating, so the bulk of our focus will usually be on what you eat and the amount you eat.
The key to selecting a treatment for your weight problem depends on your goals. If you are a person who is overweight, there is no doubt that dieting and exercise may enable you to lose enough weight to help. For people living with obesity, this may not be the case, and surgery could be considered an option.
Anyone who is thinking about weight loss surgery will have tried a number of diets in the past. If, following consultation with your doctor, you decide that you would prefer an attempt at weight loss without surgery, there are non-surgical weight management options available.
Weight Loss Medications
At Upper GI Surgery, our bariatric practitioners (Dr Georgia Rigas and Dr Jennifer Matthei) can discuss with you the option of prescription weight loss medication to assist with excess weight loss or weight management, such as Saxenda® or Ozempic®.
How Saxenda® and Ozempic® Work
Saxenda® and Ozempic® are injectable prescription medicines to help a person lose weight.
Your body naturally produces an appetite hormone known as glucagon-like-peptide (GLP-1); this hormone helps to regulate your hunger. Saxenda® works like the GLP-1 hormone by regulating a person’s appetite, which can lead to eating fewer calories and resulting in weight loss.
Ozempic® is used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar in adults. A side effect of this is weight loss.
Contrave® – is a medication by mouth, which appears to help people reduce their cravings for food. Its ingredients include medications that may assist people with smoking cessation, drug and alcohol abuse etc
Duromine® – is a medication taken by mouth which is an appetite suppressant.
Xenical® – is a medication taken by mouth that reduces some of the fat absorbed from the foods they consume. It does not act on hunger/cravings etc.
Who is it suitable for?
Obesity medication can be used for people who are wishing to lose excess weight without surgery, or those who may have experienced weight regain after surgery, or are having difficulty managing their weight long-term. Adults with excess weight (BMI > 27) who also have weight related medical problems (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea) or adults suffering from obesity (BMI > 30) may be eligible for obesity medication.
Medication for weight regain after bariatric surgery
Although bariatric surgery is a fantastic tool used to aid in weight loss, it requires important, lifelong commitments to a change in diet and activity levels (exercise) to be effective in the long term. Even with consistent healthy lifestyle changes, some weight regain can and does recur. Typically, weight regain can be expected to occur after 12-24 months, and while in some the weight gain is minor, in others it is progressive which can be very disheartening. From our clinical experience, patients who attend regular follow-up with their clinic, tend to regain less weight than those who don’t come back for follow-up.
If someone is struggling to lose weight they have regained through diet and exercise alone, non-surgical weight loss treatments can help them get back on track and lose the regained kg’s. Obesity medications can assist with things like hunger and weight loss while you work on some of the “triggers’ that have led to weight regain. Click here to read more about weight regain following bariatric surgery.
If you would like to speak to one of our bariatric specialists about weight loss and weight management medications such as Saxenda® or Ozempic®, please call us to make an appointment on (02) 9553 1120.
VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet)
A very low calorie diet (VLCD) or otherwise known as very low energy diet (VLED), replaces meals with commercially available drinks or bars. Used alone provides 600–800 calories per day, or in combination with a normal meal provides 1200 calories per day. Used frequently by specialist weight loss clinics, but requires supervision.
For long-term results is best given as part of a diet plan that will have the patient moving onto a supervised reduced-energy diet with exercise. It is one of the easiest and most reliable methods of rapid weight loss available if patients can be compliant, and is associated with the best long-term results.
Join our free Bariatric Surgery Information Webinar and Q&A on the first Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm (Sydney time).