Two out of every three Americans are either overweight or obese. Yet, an unhealthy weight has serious social, economic, and health implications. When it comes to health, it increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, arterial diseases, sleep disorders, and even cancers. Fortunately, there are various methods that can be used to reduce extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. We can follow a workout routine, change our diet, and adjust our lifestyle.
But what happens if the common weight management methods don’t deliver the desired results? This is where weight loss medication comes in. These prescription medications are used together with an exercise and diet program to help regulate body weight. One drug that is commonly used is Naltrexone. In this post, we will take a closer look at it and see how effective it is for weight loss.
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What Is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist that was developed in 1965 and approved for medical use in 1984. It’s known by the brand name Vivitrol. While it is commonly used to help people overcome opiate and alcohol addiction, it can also be used in low doses to treat weight problems when combined with bupropion. It works to reduce weight by suppressing the urge to eat excessively, allowing you to have a normal appetite, and cut the extra weight.
How Does Low Dose Naltrexone Work?
The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approved Contrave, a mix of naltrexone and bupropion, to manage overweight conditions. Although naltrexone can be used alone, bupropion helps to improve the rate of success in weight management. Bupropion is an antidepressant medication that works to reinstate the balance of some natural chemicals in the brain. The two work on different areas of your brain to minimize appetite and make you feel fuller sooner.
Low-dose naltrexone(LDN) has been shown to have the following benefits.
- It regulates appetite by matching your appetite to the energy you use in a day.
- It reduces insulin resistance, a problem that causes increased body weight.
- It gives you an energy boost, allowing you to become more physically active.
- It improves your sleep quality. Poor sleep patterns can lead to an increase in body mass.
- It can stimulate growth hormones allowing you to build lean muscle and accelerate the process of burning body fat.
- LDN triggers chemicals that can enhance your mood, thus decreasing stress and anxiety which often lead to emotional eating.
- It contains anti-inflammatory properties. Excessive inflammation can lead to hormonal changes that cause weight gain and resist weight loss.
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What Scientific Studies Say?
In one study that involved 4000 overweight and obese patients who had controlled hypertension and in another study of 500 patients who had diabetes, naltrexone was discovered to have significant weight loss benefits. In both studies, it led to body mass reduction when combined with a diet and exercise plan. Patients who used a placebo alongside a diet and exercise program didn’t lose as much weight as those that used the medication.
Gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting are some of the most reported side effects. Other side effects include nausea, headache, sweating, dizziness, and dry mouth. Remember that this medication should only be taken after a doctor prescribes it. Physicians prescribe naltrexone after carefully weighing the risks against the benefits of the drug for your situation. If you witness any side effects, notify your doctor immediately.
What Does Your Doctor Will Need to Know before Prescribing Naltrexone?
Not every patient can derive weight-loss benefits from naltrexone. Therefore, your doctor will ask some questions to determine whether you can benefit from this medication. They will ask or check whether you have allergies, a depression history, mental illness history, high blood pressure, glaucoma, eating disorders, substance use disorder, kidney disease, liver disease, and whether you are currently under other medications. The ideal patient for LDN should be relatively young, have no heart problem history, have no seizure history, and not be diabetic. The person should also have previously tried exercise and diet plans but couldn’t see changes.
Variables that May Influence Naltrexone Weight Loss
Different factors may affect how much body mass you lose after starting the medication.
- Dosage -The weight you lose is related to the dose you take. However, this doesn’t mean you should take a large dose. Note that adequate body mass loss only happens within a specific dosage range. The benefits can not be achieved outside the prescribed dose range.
- Duration of Use – The duration over which you take medication will determine how much weight you shed. Taking the drug for a few days or weeks won’t lead to significant changes. Considerable changes occur after several months, and you can yield better results if you continue using the drug for several years. However, some patients fail to observe any benefits even after prolonged use.
- Co-Administered Substances – Some drugs and supplements can affect how much weight you lose. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any other medication you take.
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Talk to a Qualified Weight-Loss Professional
Low-dose naltrexone can be used to treat obesity and overweight patients. However, the drug should be taken under the strict guidance and supervision of a doctor. If you observe severe side effects, discontinue the dose and consult your doctor on the way forward.
If you are looking to achieve a healthy weight, Mango Medical Clinic can walk with you throughout the journey. We have certified and experienced doctors who will investigate the cause of your extra weight and come up with the best weight loss approach for your unique situation.