A number of prescription medications have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia for the management of weight in adults. When used in combination with healthy eating, physical activity and behaviour modification, these medications can provide excellent results. The goals for drug therapy in overweight and obese people are long term weight reduction and an improvement in overall health. It is important to note that individual responses vary widely, and not every drug will be effective for every person. At Medsana Medical Clinic, we can offer the medications listed below for patients who meet the eligibility criteria (BMI >30, or BMI >27 with weight-related comorbidity).
Saxenda contains 1 active ingredient – liraglutide. Liraglutide mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) which is naturally produced in the gut to tell the brain that you are full. Saxenda is a once-daily injection that suppresses appetite and slows the emptying on the stomach. When used with adequate behaviour modification, you could expect to see a 5-10% reduction in body weight.
Duromine contains 1 active ingredient – phentermine. Phentermine is chemically similar to amphetamine and affects parts of the central nervous system that controls your appetite. Duromine is a tablet taken once daily that suppresses appetite and may increase energy levels. When used with adequate behaviour modification, you could expect to see a 5-10% reduction in body weight.
Orlistat contains 1 active ingredient – orlistat. Orlistat is a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor which prevents the breakdown of fats from the food you eat, inhibiting approximately 30% of fat absorption in the gut. This medication should be used in conjunction with a low fat diet. Xenical is a tablet taken 3 times a day with meals. When used with adequate behaviour modification, you could expect to see a 5-10% reduction in body weight.
Contrave contains 2 active ingredients – bupropion and naltrexone. These two drugs in combination have been found to work on the part of the brain that controls appetite and the reward centre to reduce cravings. Contrave is a tablet taken once daily initially, working up to 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening. When used with adequate behaviour modification, you could expect to see 8% reduction in body weight.
Topamax contains 1 active ingredient – topiramate. Topamax is registered with the TGA to treat epilepsy and migraines but has also shown effectiveness for weight loss. Topiramate acts on the part of the brain that controls appetite, making you feel less hungry and fuller for longer. Topamax is a tablet taken once daily. When used with adequate behaviour modification, you could expect to see a 3-6% reduction in body weight.
Ozempic contains 1 active ingredient – semaglutide. As with Saxenda, Ozempic also mimics the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1 that is released from the intestine after a meal. However, this one is injected once weekly. Semaglutide slows down the emptying of the stomach and reduces appetite. Ozempic is currently approved by the TGA for use in diabetes only, and is not yet registered in Australia for weight management. When used with adequate behaviour modification, you could expect to see >5% reduction in body weight.
For patients who are eligible for pharmacological weight management therapies, thorough consultation with our doctors will help determine the best choice for you based on your personal preferences, comorbidities and possible adverse effects. Call reception on 07 3852 4878 to book a bulk-billed weight management consultation. If booking online, book with Dr Linh Cheung or Dr Jamie Nuttall who have a special interest in weight management.
The information in this article has been adapted from:
NPS Medicinewise –
Health Direct –
This article was written by April Stevens BSc. MD student.
4th September 2021.