Last June, the media announced the existence of a drug capable of reducing weight by more than 20% in obese patients. called tirzepatide has woken up public interest for this type of compound.
However, the use of drugs against overweight it’s not new, Although the basis of any treatment Along with physical exercise is a low-calorie diet, for decades there have also been molecules that help shed extra kilos.
Currently, there are three drugs available in Spain that have proven their effectiveness. in one hand, orlistat, An orally administered molecule that reduces intestinal absorption of fat from food. can reduce up to 4% of starting weight,
on the other hand, there is naltrexone, it is opioid antagonistis used in alcohol treatment and to prevent recurrence of opium use, it is combined with bupropionantidepressant used against smoking, The combined action of both leads to loss of appetite and an average of 5% of body weight is reduced.
Finally, there is liraglutide, daily subcutaneous administration, which mimics the effect of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), This intestinal peptide, which is synthesized in response to the presence of food in the digestive tract, stimulates the secretion of insulin by the pancreas after a meal. Another peptide takes part in the process, GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic-polypeptide). GLP-1 and also GIP create a sense of fulfillment By acting on an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. Patients who are prescribed lose up to 7% by weight,
In addition, in the coming months, this last group can be expected to include other drugs, called incretin mimetics—incretins. is an example semaglutide which is administered subcutaneously weekly and has been shown to reduce weight up to 14%,
In form of tirazeptideThe molecule which has recently attracted attention is a double ImpactGLP-1 and GIP act together on the brain receptors of incretin, controlling the sensation of hunger. It is expected that it will also be available in Spain in the medium term, as well as other molecules currently under development.
[Casi dos de cada tres adultos tiene sobrepeso u obesidad en Europa: la alerta de la OMS]
However, it should be recognized that drugs for the treatment of obesity they are not harmless, While orlistat can cause flatulence and fecal incontinence, naltrexone/bupropion occasionally causes nausea, constipation, headache, and insomnia, and should not be given to people with certain mental disorders.
The incretins (liraglutide, semaglutide and tirzepatide) have, for their part, a variable effectiveness: in some people they produce remarkable effects and In others they are completely ineffective, In addition, they cause nausea and vomiting, and are contraindicated in people with diseases of the pancreas.
When should they be used?
Although they can be of great help, medications are still a supplement in the treatment of obesity. physical activity particularly relevant, as both drugs and Diet They also deplete the body’s water and muscle mass. Only exercise allows muscle to be preserved and allows for weight loss primarily at the expense of fat.
It should be emphasized that obesity must be treated under medical supervision, Among other factors, it will take into account body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kg) by the square of their height (in metres). use drugs May be appropriate when BMI is greater than or equal to 30 kg/2; or if it is greater than or equal to 27 kg/m2; You Person suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure or hypercholesterolemia,
At present we do not have drugs that have caused more than 20% loss of body weight. In cases where it is necessary to achieve high descents, Gastrointestinal surgery It is a therapeutic option. It is indicated when BMI is equal to or greater than 40 kg/m2; or in cases of BMI equal to or greater than 35 kg/m2; If the patient has diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia.
When asked if there is any way to lose weight without change life habits, the answer is no. Medications and surgery can be a good complement to diet and physical exercise in some cases of obesity, but they do not resolve the condition by themselves.