Understanding the Role of Medications in Medical Weight Loss

In a world where health and wellness are increasingly personalized, the concept of medical weight loss offers hope for many. At Believe Image in Greenville, SC, we’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of integrating medical science with tailored weight loss strategies. Here, we aim to uncover the role of medications in medical weight loss and show how these treatments, combined with lifestyle changes, can significantly enhance weight loss outcomes.

What Is Medical Weight Loss?

Medical weight loss represents a systematic approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, guided by medical professionals. This strategy is distinguished by its personalized nature, diverging from one-size-fits-all solutions common in the weight loss industry. It encompasses a thorough assessment of an individual’s health status, nutritional needs, and lifestyle factors, laying the groundwork for a tailored weight management plan.

Key components often include dietary modifications, physical activity recommendations, behavioral counseling, and, when appropriate, pharmacological interventions. The overarching goal of medical weight loss is not merely reducing body weight but promoting long-term health and wellness through sustainable lifestyle changes.

How Do Medications Help in Medical Weight Loss?

Appetite Suppression

Medications that suppress appetite mainly affect the brain’s regulatory circuits that control hunger and cravings. They increase feelings of fullness, reduce hunger, and help control compulsive eating behaviors. Drugs like phentermine, one of the most commonly prescribed appetite suppressants, work by stimulating the hypothalamus gland and affecting certain neurotransmitters to decrease appetite.

Increase Feelings of Fullness

Some medications work by slowing gastric emptying or increasing feelings of fullness. For example, GLP-1 receptor agonists (such as semaglutide) mimic the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1. This hormone is released after eating and signals the brain that the stomach is full. By enhancing this signal, these medications can help individuals eat less and lose weight.

Reducing Fat Absorption

Some fat absorption inhibitors work by blocking the enzyme that breaks down fats in your diet, preventing them from being absorbed by the body. This means that a portion of the fat eaten is not digested but is excreted from the body. This approach can help reduce the amount of calories absorbed from fats, but following a low-fat diet is essential to minimize side effects like gastrointestinal discomfort.

Influencing Metabolism

Some weight loss medications can also influence metabolism. Medications that affect insulin sensitivity, for example, can help the body better utilize glucose, aiding in weight loss and improving metabolic health. Metformin, a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, has been studied for its potential weight loss benefits in this context.

A Closer Look at Weight Loss Medications


Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It mimics the action of the GLP-1 hormone, which is involved in appetite regulation and calorie intake. Semaglutide helps people lose weight by increasing feelings of fullness, reducing hunger, and decreasing overall food intake. It is administered via injection and has been approved for use in managing type 2 diabetes, as well as for weight loss in people with obesity or overweight conditions who have at least one weight-related condition, such as hypertension or type 2 diabetes.


Wegovy is a brand name for semaglutide that is specifically approved for weight loss. It’s available as a once-weekly injection and is used in adults and adolescents aged 12 and older with a body mass index (BMI) in the obese range (30 kg/m² or higher) or in the overweight range (27 kg/m² or higher) and with at least one weight-related ailment.


Ozempic is another brand name for semaglutide, but it’s primarily marketed and approved for treating type 2 diabetes. Like Wegovy, Ozempic is administered through a once-weekly injection. It works by improving blood sugar levels, promoting weight loss, and reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke in people with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. Although its primary indication is for diabetes management, the weight loss observed in patients has also sparked interest in its use for weight management.

Compounded Semaglutide

Compounded semaglutide refers to pharmacy-compounded formulations of semaglutide. Compounding pharmacies create medications tailored to individuals who may require dosages, formulations, or combinations not available in standard, commercially produced medications.

Oral Medications 

In addition to injectable treatments, a variety of oral medications and supplements are available to support the weight loss journey. The selection of the appropriate oral medication is a careful process, tailored to an individual’s health history and specific treatment objectives. The range of oral medications provided includes: 

  • Metformin: Metformin is often used to improve insulin sensitivity, which can aid in weight loss and is particularly beneficial for individuals with pre-diabetes or insulin resistance.
  • Phentermine +/- Topiramate: This combination suppresses appetite and may increase satiety, making it easier to adhere to a reduced-calorie diet.
  • Bupropion: Typically known for its use in depression and smoking cessation, this medication can also help in weight loss by reducing cravings.
  • Naltrexone: Commonly used in addiction treatment, naltrexone has shown promise in helping manage compulsive eating behaviors when combined with other medications.
  • Peptide BPC-157: Known for its healing properties, this peptide can also play a role in weight management and overall wellness.

These oral options are an integral part of the treatment plan and are designed to work in harmony with dietary adjustments and a consistent exercise regimen. By incorporating these oral medications as part of a broader weight management plan, individuals can receive a multifaceted approach to weight loss that addresses biological, nutritional, and lifestyle factors.

Your Journey Toward a Healthier You Begins With Medical Weight Loss in Greenville, SC

Starting a weight loss journey can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a path you walk alone. With Believe Image in Greenville, SC, you have a partner committed to your health and wellness. We are equipped with the tools, knowledge, and support to help you achieve your weight management goals. Reach out today online or call (702) 635-5912, and let’s explore how we can tailor a medical weight loss plan that’s just right for you.

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