What you should know about weight-loss drugs

Diet and exercise may be the healthiest ways to shed the pounds but drugs can come in handy for those patients who may need help with initial weight loss, maintaining benefits at the end of a very low energy diet.

While drug treatment is often needed over extended periods, there is little data on the long-term safety and effectiveness.

Several groups, including the Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society, have launched a new obesity management algorithm. They note that only three drugs are approved by the TGA for the treatment of obesity in Australia.

Another two off-label medications may also be considered for managing obesity.

Here’s the latest on what’s what:

Phentermine (Duromine, Metermine)

This TGA-approved medication is a centrally acting adrenergic agonist that suppresses appetite and is delivered in a slow