Weight loss medications can be used for the short-term management of obesity, and include anorexiants, sympathomimetic medications, lipase inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1 receptor agonists, as well as opioid antagonists combined with atypical antidepressants.
Starting with anorexiants, the most commonly used are benzphetamine and diethylpropion, which are taken orally. These medications are believed to decrease appetite by stimulating the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the satiety center of the brain, which is located in the hypothalamic and limbic areas. As a result, these neurotransmitters ultimately increase the feeling of satiety and decrease the perception of hunger.
Then, there are sympathomimetic medications, among which the most commonly used one for weight loss is phentermine, which is taken orally. Once administered, phentermine is absorbed into the bloodstream, and travels to the brain.
Here, it works at the synaptic cleft by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. This results in an increased concentration of these neurotransmitters within the synaptic cleft, ultimately decreasing the perception of hunger.
Moving on, lipase inhibitors include orlistat, which is taken orally. This medication acts in the gastrointestinal tract by inhibiting the absorption of fats, causing them to get excreted in the feces.