Exploring New Weight Loss Medications: Their Effectiveness and the Ayurvedic Alternative - The Holistic Highway - Ayurveda


It is the New Year and in the constant quest for effective weight loss solutions, pharmaceutical advancements have introduced new medications that promise to help you on your journey towards a healthier weight. While these weight loss medications come with their own set of advantages, it is essential to critically examine both the pros and cons before deciding if they are the right choice.

Which medications are approved for weight loss?

  • GLP-1 agonists, including liraglutide (Saxenda), semaglutide (Wegovy), and tirzepatide (Zepbound)
  • orlistat (Xenical)
  • phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia)
  • naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave)
  • setmelanotide (Imcivree)
  • appetite suppressants, including phentermine (Adipex-P or Lomaira)


How Do They Work? These medications tend to work via one or more of these mechanisms.

Appetite Suppression: Some weight loss medications work by suppressing the appetite, helping you feel fuller, so you eat fewer calories and control your portion sizes. This is how GLP-1 agonists work. They slow the emptying of the stomach and reduce the secretion of glucagon, a hormone that regulates appetite. Phentermine also works this way by reducing appetite by altering levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

Side Effects: Common side effects include constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, increased heart rate, infections, and indigestion. More research is needed on the long-term effects of these medications, as there is concern about potential weight regain over time. Potential side effects of phentermine may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Reducing Absorption: Some medications reduce the absorption of nutrients like fats so in effect taking in fewer calories. This is how Orlistata (Xenical) works. It blocks the activity of enzymes used to break down fats in the digestive system, which helps reduce the number of calories you consume.

Side effects: Orlistat often causes digestive issues like loose or oily stools, gas, and frequent bowel movements, making the medication difficult for some people to tolerate. It could also contribute to nutrient deficiencies, including in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, or K.

Increasing Metabolism: Increasing metabolism makes you burn more calories. This is how Naltrexone/bupropion works as well as Setmelanotide (Imcivree) although the full mechanism isn’t fully understood yet. It is believed that these drugs act on certain parts of the brain to reduce food intake, boost metabolism, and increase feelings of fullness. 

Side effects: Naltrexone/bupropion may cause nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, and insomnia. It might also increase heart rate and blood pressure. Some of the most common side effects of setmelanotide include injection site reactions, hyperpigmentation, nausea, headache, diarrhea, and stomach or back pain. Fatigue, vomiting, and depression have also been reported.

Understanding Weight Loss Medications: Pros and Cons


  • effective for weight loss when used alongside dietary changes and regular physical activity
  • approved by the FDA for weight management
  • might offer other health benefits, including improved blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol levels
  • many medications are available through telehealth platforms reducing the need to see your primary care physician


  • not suitable for everyone
  • can cause side effects, some of which may be serious
  • weight regain is possible once medication is discontinued
  • more research is needed on long-term health effects
  • cost can be a significant drawback, as insurance coverage may vary, and not everyone can afford these treatments

Now, let’s explore an alternative approach to weight loss through Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic Approach to Weight Loss:

Ayurveda, emphasizes a holistic approach to health and wellness. Here’s how Ayurveda differs from conventional weight loss medications:

Individualized Approach: Ayurveda recognizes that each person is unique, and weight loss strategies should be personalized based on one’s body type, known as dosha. This individualized approach allows for a more targeted and effective weight loss plan.

Natural Therapies: Ayurvedic practices often involve the use of natural herbs, spices, and dietary recommendations to promote weight loss. These remedies are generally considered safer with fewer side effects compared to pharmaceuticals.

Mind-Body Connection: Ayurveda places a strong emphasis on the mind-body connection. Stress management techniques, meditation, and yoga are integral components of Ayurvedic weight loss programs, addressing both physical and mental well-being.

Long-Term Lifestyle Changes: Unlike quick-fix solutions, Ayurveda focuses on sustainable lifestyle changes, encouraging individuals to adopt healthier habits for the long term.

While new weight loss medications may offer some benefits, it’s crucial to weigh the potential drawbacks, including side effects, limited long-term studies, and the risk of dependency. Ayurveda, with its holistic and personalized approach, provides an alternative path to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. By addressing the root causes of weight gain and promoting overall well-being, Ayurveda offers a comprehensive and sustainable solution for those seeking long-lasting results.

As we delve into the realm of weight loss solutions, it’s evident that the choices we make impact not only our physical well-being but also our overall health. In the spirit of embracing holistic and sustainable approaches, we’re excited to announce the launch of our Spring Cleanse starting in March. Drawing inspiration from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, this personalized program aims to guide you on a transformative journey towards a healthier weight. 

By combining individualized strategies, natural therapies, and a focus on the mind-body connection, our Spring Cleanse offers a way to lose weight differently. 

Join us where the richness of Ayurvedic traditions meets the aspirations for a healthier, balanced life. Click on the link for more details on how you can embark on this holistic journey with us soon and we will add you to the wait list.

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