New data supplied to the FDA that allayed these fears led to the drug's approval last month.
Doctors and other health professionals agree that the best way to keep off unwanted weight is through a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and exercise. Still, the new drugs should benefit some of the estimated two-thirds of Americans who are either overweight or obese, experts said.
Samantha Heller, an exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., told HealthDay that "obesity is often associated with alterations in endocrine function, metabolism, hormones that regulate appetite and more."
For many people struggling with weight, these disruptions in the balance of hormones and metabolism make it difficult to lose weight, she said. People may feel hungry all the time, fatigued or lethargic. Losing weight for people who are obese is rarely as simple as eating less, she added.
"People need to understand that lifestyle modifications are essential for successful weight loss, weight maintenance and fitness programs. The weight loss reported in the studies is modest and the placebo group lost weight too, indicating that ongoing lifestyle counseling and support have a positive impact with and without medication," she said.
Learn more about weight-loss medications at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
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