Weight Loss

Are There Any Short- or Long-Term Effects When Using Weight Loss Medications?

Key Takeaways
  • Yes, there can be side effects of taking weight loss medications.
  • There are a number of short-term side effects of weight loss medications, including, but not limited to: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and dyspepsia.
  • There are also long-term side effects of weight loss medications, such as increased risks of gallstones and pancreatitis, as well as sarcopenia (muscle and strength loss).
  • Most weight loss medications share the same side effects.
  • Some of the best ways to manage these gastro-intestinal side effects is to think about things like the quantity and timing of food intake, ensuring you have enough fiber and water in your daily diet, as well as strength training to reduce the risks of sarcopenia.

When you’re starting a new weight loss medication, many people are so excited about the potential benefits these medications may provide, they forget to think about the potential side effects they may experience during their treatments.

It’s natural to be excited about positive health changes, and the opportunity to take back control of your health and quality of life, but it’s also essential to understand what to expect when using weight management medications.

This page will help you make sense of both the short- and long-term side effects that may present when you’re using weight loss medications.

If you’d like to talk to a healthcare practitioner about whether weight loss medications could be the right treatment option for you, just complete a short online assessment to get started today.

Are There Side Effects to Taking Weight Loss Medication?

Yes, depending on the person, there can be side effects of weight loss medications.

There is no single way that this will present, as it depends on each person’s individual health, biology, genetics, and lifestyle.

What are the Short-Term Side Effects of Weight Loss Medication?

There are a number of different short-term side effects of weight loss medications. Some of the most common include (but are not limited to):

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dyspepsia

If you’re starting to experience any of these side effects, or you’re concerned about how to manage them, talk to your healthcare practitioner at Felix today.

Are There Long-Term Effects of Taking Weight Loss Medication?

Like the short-term effects, the long-term side effects of weight loss medications will vary depending on the individual.

However, some of the long-term side effects could include an increased risk of both gallstones and pancreatitis. This is part of the reason that ongoing follow-ups with your practitioner are a good idea, to help identify these issues if they start to appear before they become severe.

Taking weight loss medications long-term can also increase your risks of sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass and strength).

This bolsters the fact that weight loss medications should be used in tandem with a healthy diet and regular exercise (including strength training), which can help minimize muscle loss or reduction in strength.

Do All Weight Loss Medications Have the Same Side Effects?

Most side effects of weight loss medications are the same.

The exceptions have their own unique set of short- and long-term side effects. 

Are Over-the-counter Diet Pills or Supplements Safe to Use?

Most over-the-counter diet pills are unregulated ‘supplements’, which are not monitored or controlled by the Government of Canada. This means there’s no way to know whether they are safe to use, or what the potential side effects of these weight loss pills may be.

Also, it’s important to note that because over-the-counter diet pills or supplements are largely unregulated, and there have been no clinical studies done to evaluate what the short- and long-term side effects of diet medications could amount to.

Unless it’s recommended or prescribed by your healthcare practitioner, we’d recommend avoiding these types of treatments.

How Long are Weight Loss Medications Meant to be Taken for?

Due to the way that they function, and the fact that weight management is never meant to be a short-term journey, weight loss medications are meant to be taken long-term.

Obesity is a chronic medical condition. Like other chronic medical conditions (i.e., high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.), they require long-term treatments.

Otherwise, the condition (weight gain and the associated health concerns in this case) will return.

Want to talk to a practitioner about potential long-term effects of your weight loss medications? It only takes a few minutes to get started today with Felix.

Are There Ways to Combat the Side Effects?

There are a couple of ways that you can combat these side effects. It may not eliminate them entirely, but it can help reduce their severity when they appear.

First, thinking about the quantity and timing of your food intake is something to consider. For example, overeating can lead to feeling bloated; especially when your body is already craving less food intake.

Eating late at night can increase your chances of side effects like nausea, particularly if you’re going right to bed after you eat.

Ensuring that your diet contains enough fiber, and that you’re drinking enough water throughout the day can help reduce side effects like constipation.

Strength training, alongside adequate protein intake, is a great way to minimize sarcopenia. It’s also a great way to support your overall health alongside your treatments.

When Should I Talk to a Practitioner About Weight Management Medications?

If you’re interested in starting weight loss medications, but you’re concerned about the potential side effects and how to manage them, it could be time to talk to a healthcare practitioner.

If you’re already taking weight loss medications, and you’re starting to experience side effects that are impacting your comfort or daily quality of life, you can also benefit from talking to a practitioner.

Just complete a short online assessment to get started today, and one of our practitioners will be happy to try and help you find a weight management plan that works for you, based on your individual needs, health, and lifestyle.

With Felix in your corner, you can take back control of your health, so that you can get back to living life on your terms - the way it should be.

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