Recent breakthroughs in understanding the mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of elevated body fat have led to the arrival of new obesity pharmacotherapies. These novel antiobesity therapies, which work by reducing energy intake or through increasing satiety, decreasing hunger, or reducing absorption of calories, may be used indefinitely once patients have demonstrated significant responses (usually defined as ≥5% weight loss) over the first 12 weeks of treatment. To date, 2 long-term obesity pharmacotherapies have been approved and are available in Canada: liraglutide and orlistat.

Medications for Weight Management:

There are 2 medications approved by Health Canada for weight management. Criteria: BMI > 30, or BMI 27 – 30 (with 1 medical condition)

SAXENDA (liraglutide) DIN # 02437899

What is it: Injectable hormone called GLP1.GLP1 is naturally released from the small intestines after eating to signal the brain and organs that food has been consumed. People living with obesity have low levels of GLP1 What does it do: GLP1 HELPS TO RESTORE HEALTHY EATING PATTERNS. Clinical trials have demonstrated improvements in blood sugars, cholesterol, blood pressure and the prevention of diabetes and pre-diabetes

Weight loss expected: Approximately 8% above lifestyle
How is it taken: Injected daily in the evening
Side effects: Main adverse effect is transient nausea
Cost: Approximately $400/month

XENICAL (orlistat) DIN # 02240325

What is it: Gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor What does it do: Orlistat blocks the action of lipase and decreases the absorption of fat in the gut. Clinical trials have demonstrated improvements in blood sugars and cholesterol

Weight loss expected: Approximately 3% above lifestyle
How is it taken: One pill three times a day with meals
Side effects: Stomach upset, loose bowel movements, Liver failure –rare; monitoring liver enzymes
Cost: Approximately $180/month
* Ask your doctor for more information regarding these weight management medications.