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Wegovy | obesity medications include semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro)

Enara Health Exclusive: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Anti-Obesity Medications

In the quest for effective weight management solutions, a variety of anti-obesity medications have emerged, each with unique mechanisms of action and considerations for use. Below is an overview of several prominent options, including insights into how they work, their potential risks, and side effects.


Primarily known for its role in managing type 2 diabetes, metformin has shown promise in weight management by improving glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. It operates, in part, by enhancing the activity of brown adipose tissue, which can promote energy expenditure. However, its effectiveness and mechanisms in human obesity treatment still require further clinical validation​​.


Phentermine is one of the oldest and most widely prescribed weight loss medications, primarily acting as an appetite suppressant. It stimulates the central nervous system, increasing heart rate and blood pressure while decreasing appetite. Due to its stimulant effects, phentermine is typically recommended for short-term use and requires careful monitoring for potential cardiovascular side effects.

Qsymia (Phentermine/Topiramate)

Qsymia combines phentermine with topiramate, an anticonvulsant that has weight loss benefits, to offer a multifaceted approach to weight management. This combination not only suppresses appetite but also may enhance satiety. Users must be aware of potential side effects, including mood changes, cognitive issues, and birth defects if taken during pregnancy.


While primarily used for epilepsy and migraine prevention, topiramate has been observed to induce weight loss. Its exact mechanism in weight management is not fully understood but is thought to include appetite suppression and possibly enhanced satiety. Side effects can include paresthesia, cognitive issues, and mood disturbances. Crucially, topiramate carries a risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy, underscoring the need for effective birth control and careful management in women of childbearing age.

Contrave (Naltrexone/Bupropion)

Contrave combines naltrexone and bupropion to target hunger and reward centers in the brain, helping to control appetite and cravings. It’s crucial for users to be aware of potential mental health side effects, such as an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, especially in those with a history of depression or other mental illnesses. Other considerations include the risk of seizures and the need for caution in individuals with a history of seizure disorders or those using other medications containing bupropion​​​​.

Victoza/Saxenda (Liraglutide)

Victoza, another GLP-1 receptor agonist, is used mainly for type 2 diabetes management but has also been approved for weight loss under the brand name Saxenda. It mimics the GLP-1 hormone, enhancing insulin secretion, suppressing glucagon secretion, and reducing appetite. Gastrointestinal side effects are common, and there’s a noted risk of thyroid C-cell tumors.

Ozempic/Wegovy (Semaglutide)

Ozempic and Wegovy, both containing semaglutide but approved for different indications (Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss), work by activating GLP-1 receptors to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce appetite. Like Zepbound and Mounjaro, they are part of the broader GLP-1 receptor agonist class but focus solely on the GLP-1 pathway​​.

Mounjaro/Zepbound (Tirzepatide)

Tirzepatide, sold under the brand names Mounjaro for diabetes and Zepbound for weight loss, is notable for its dual-agonist action on GLP-1 and GIP receptors, offering a novel approach to blood sugar control and weight management. It’s administered via subcutaneous injection and has been associated with gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, which are common across GLP-1 receptor agonists. Important safety considerations include the potential risk of thyroid tumors, necessitating caution in individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2​​​​​​.

Each of these medications offers a different approach to tackling obesity, highlighting the importance of personalized treatment plans in weight management. When considering any anti-obesity medication, it’s crucial to consult with your Enara Medical Provider to discuss the potential benefits, risks, and how a medication fits into your overall treatment plan.

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