Are Weight Loss Drugs Safe For People With Diabetes?

African American woman on scaleWeight loss lowers the risk of diabetes, and in those who already have diabetes weight loss can reduce blood glucose—also called blood sugar. Besides improving blood sugar control, modest weight loss of 5% to 10% can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, and reduce the risk of other chronic diseases related to diabetes.

There are a number of treatment options available for the management of obesity, including lifestyle behavior change, very low-calorie diets, bariatric surgery and medication. There’s no single weight loss approach that works for everyone. Medication is considered only if a person has not lost 1 lb per week after six months of combined lifestyle behavior therapy, including a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Medication for weight loss isn’t a new phenomenon. However, many of the available medications over the past decade were taken off the market due to serious side effects such as psychiatric problems, cardiovascular risks, stroke, heart damage, and pulmonary hypertension. But over the last four years, there has been a rapid increase in approved obesity drugs with fewer side effects.

Here’s the list of weight loss drugs for people with diabetes and what you need to know about how they work.

Brand name: Belviq

Generic name: Lorcaserin

How it works: Lorcaserin is in a class of medications called serotonin receptor agonists. It works by increasing feelings of fullness so that less food is eaten.

Who should not take it? Women who are pregnant or who are trying to become pregnant