Weight Loss Medication
With Simple Online Doctor, our Australian registered doctor can assess whether capsule/ tablet treatments for weight loss are suitable for you. Simply fill out an assessment and our doctor will evaluate your suitability for treatment. If approved, the doctor will pass a prescription to our pharmacy team, who will fill the prescription and dispatch your medicine to your delivery address.
For those looking for weight loss injections rather than tablets, please refer to our weight loss injection page for information or to begin your health assessment.
What is Obesity?
Being overweight or obese is defined as having excess body fat. A way of finding out whether you carry excess weight is by using body mass index (BMI). This tool compares weight and height to give a score that can be used to determine how healthy your weight is.
- <18.5 is underweight
- 18.5 to 24.9 is a healthy weight
- 25-29.9 is overweight
- >30 is obese
While this tool can be useful for most people, it does not account for build and weight content, eg. people who are tall, short, or muscular. For this reason, it should only be used as a general guide. Body fat percentage can be a more accurate indicator of when it may be time to consider attempting to lose weight. Those with body fat percentages over 25% are generally considered obese.
What Causes Obesity?
It’s no secret that a poor diet over a long period of time will result in weight gain. However, what exactly makes up a poor diet is sometimes not so straightforward. The average man will burn 2500 calories daily and the average woman 2000 calories.
Weight loss will happen once the amount of calories being used daily exceeds daily intake. An excess of daily calories can come from a variety of dietary sources, including:
- Fast food - Fast foods are often high in fats and sugars which cause them to contain significantly more calories than normal meals.
- Alcohol - Alcohol itself is ridiculously calorie dense and is often mixed with other drinks filled with sugars and paired with consumption of calorie-dense foods.
- Overeating - Large portion sizes at each meal can result in significant excess of daily calories.
- Drinking habits - Juices, soft drinks, and milkshakes all contain vast amounts of unnecessary sugars.
- Unbalanced diets - Eating too much of any one food group can result in nutritional deficiencies in others. It can also lead to increased weight gain.
Lack of Exercise
A general lack of exercise will mean the calories burned each day will likely remain lower than the daily intake. This will result in weight gain over time.
Studies have found that indeed, genetics play a role in weight loss, weight gain, and obesity. They can affect appetite, metabolism, fat distribution, and the sense of fullness after meals. While this might be true it is also stated that obesity-related to genetics can still be overcome.
Some medications can cause weight gain as a side effect. For example, some antipsychotic medicines can cause weight gain by stimulating appetite resulting in overeating. Similarly, some birth control medicines can stimulate appetite and fluid retention causing weight gain. Any weight gain attributed to treatments should be discussed with your GP before potentially changing therapy or managing the side effect.
A variety of medical conditions can result in weight gain these include:
- Cushing’s syndrome
These can all result in weight gain through various pathways and long term management solutions should be discussed with your managing GP if your weight gain is related to a medical condition.
The Risks of Obesity
Obesity can dramatically increase the risk of developing a number of health problems including:
- Cardiovascular diseases - heart attacks and strokes become more likely as fat begins to build up in the blood vessels.
- Sexual - women may experience infertility and irregular menstrual bleeding due to obesity. Obesity in men can result in erectile dysfunction.
- Type 2 diabetes - excess weight can change the way your body responds to insulin over time resulting in diabetes.
- Cancer - being overweight increases the risk of developing cancer of the uterus, liver, prostate, breast, ovary, colon, esophagus, and kidney.
- Digestion - increased risk of developing heartburn and fatty liver disease.
- Sleep apnea - excess fat around the neck can block normal breathing during sleep leading to sleep apnea.
- Osteoarthritis - excess weight on load-bearing joints like the knees can result in an increased risk of osteoarthritis later in life.
- Low self-esteem - dissatisfaction with the shape of your body can lead to serious mental health issues such as loss of confidence and possibly depression.
What are the Benefits of Weight Loss?
Losing as little as 5% of your body weight has been shown to have drastic effects on overall health. The listed risks associated with obesity all have been proven to drop a clinically noticeable amount with this small percentage drop in body weight.
Weight Loss Treatments
All treatments for weight loss include diet and exercise. Although there are many who claim it, there are no real miracle treatments that alone will result in long-lasting weight loss. Weight loss drugs and treatments are designed to assist weight loss while the underlying causes are addressed.
Please note that Australian law prevents us from naming specific prescription treatments. After completing an assessment, you will be presented with the treatment options our doctors can prescribe. Our doctors will then assess whether the treatment is suitable for you. You can also seek advice from your local GP or pharmacist.
Weight Loss Tablets
There are two types of proven, medical-grade weight loss capsules.
The first weight-loss drug is a capsule that works by reducing the amount of fat the body is able to absorb with each meal. Reducing the amount of fat the body is able to take in decreases daily calorie intake. The capsule is taken 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This medicine is only approved for use in patients with a BMI of over 30 or >27 with other risk factors and under doctors instruction.
This medicine also acts as a deterrent to having high-fat meals due to the gastric upset that happens if you do. For this reason, it is recommended to be used in conjunction with a diet and exercise plan for better results.
Side effects include fat in the stool, poorly smelling stool (due to high-fat content), increased flatulence, floating stools, gastric upset if taken with a high-fat meal.
The second weight loss capsule works by increasing the number of calories burned by the body and affecting the area of the brain that control appetite. This results in decreased incentive to overeat as well as increasing the number of calories burned daily through the body’s natural functions resulting in weight loss. This medicine is taken once daily in the morning.
This medicine is not suitable for people with high blood pressure or issues involving heart rhythm and patients should contact their GP to assess their suitability for the drug.
Common side effects include feeling more awake than usual, insomnia, fast heart rate, restlessness, tremor and nervousness.
Weight Loss Injection
A new type of weight loss medication is an injectable medicine. This medicine comes in an injectable pen that’s injected into the fat layer of the lower stomach, much like insulin. It is used once daily and is given on a slowly increasing schedule to gauge tolerance towards the medicine until the maintenance dose is reached.
Like the first capsule treatment, this medicine is only approved for use in patients with a BMI of over 30 or >27 with other risk factors and under a doctor's instruction.
Common side effects of this weight loss drug include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation. Less common side effects can be fast heart rate, taste change and insomnia. Any side effects should be discussed with the treating GP.
A dietitian can assist in identifying key problem areas to weight loss, working to address them to improve your relationship with food, health and wellbeing. They work with you to establish a balanced and manageable approach to weight loss, focusing on getting long-lasting results. Dietitian services are recommended alongside weight loss medication in order to get the most out of your treatment.
Weight Loss Surgery
There are a number of weight loss procedures available today. Suitability for each will need to be assessed by doctors on a case by case basis and some may not be appropriate for everyone’s different situations.
This procedure involves an inflatable band being placed around a part of the stomach creating a small pouch above the band. This results in being full even after small meals.
As the name suggests, this procedure connects a part of your stomach to a further down portion of the intestine, thus bypassing a large section where food is normally absorbed.
This procedure, also known as a sleeve gastrectomy, involved removing a majority (80-85%) of the stomach. This results in a much smaller stomach which requires less food to feel full, reducing the amount of food eaten.
Lifestyle Changes to Lose Weight
Diet changes are the most important lifestyle change to make for weight control. Weight gain comes from more calories coming into the body than what gets used. Balancing the diet so that you remain at a calorie deficit while trying to lose weight guarantees weight loss.
A common misconception is that fad dieting and diet supplements are the best way to lose weight. While being true in the short term, these fad diets tend to be unsustainable, asking you to completely cut food groups or only eat a couple of different types. Once you stop these types of diets the weight tends to return as calorie intake again increases.
The best weight loss diet is a balanced one. The body requires all different nutrients to thrive, protein, vegetables, grains, and yes, even fats and sugars. The key is the amount of each you consume daily. To get this balance correct it’s best to speak to a dietician or your GP.
Once dietary problems are addressed, next comes exercise. The second half of the weight-loss equation is increasing the number of calories your body burns daily in order to achieve more being used than taken in. As little as 30 minutes of physical activity daily drastically speeds up weight loss.
In order to feel more comfortable engaging in physical activity, it is recommended you speak to a personal trainer or join a class so you may safely learn exercises with support while your body adjusts to the change in activity.