New medications help the obese lose weight


It's estimated that one third of Americans are obese.

Now, drug manufacturers are working on medications to help the heaviest people lose weight.

63-year-old Lee Willeford is proud of his steady weight loss progress since January.

"I'm down 36 pounds since the first of the year," he said.

Throughout his adult years, Willeford said he's tried every diet.

"I've done the high protein, I've done the carbo diets, I've done atkins," he said.

When he got into his 60s, he said his age and added weight made exercising more difficult, so he sought Dr. Muhammad Jadoon's help.

"There are a lot of people who want to lose weight and if you can give them the initial support that they need, i think we can change lives," said Muhammad, a doctor of internal medicine.

He said there are three FDA approved weight loss medications on the market:

The oldest is a short-term appetite suppressant called phentermine.

Then there's qsymia, the first long-term use weight loss drug that is a combination of phentermine and a seizure medication called topiramate.

Finally, belviq affects the serotonin receptors in the brain.

"It works in the brain and gives you early satiety," Muhammad said. "You feel like you are full earlier."

willeford was prescribed qsymia, a once-a-day tablet that controls his appetite.

"It shuts down your desire that says 'I'm hungry, I'm starving, I want to go eat,'" he said.

Healthy diet and exercise plans lead to the most success with these medications, and Willeford said he holds himself accountable with that each day.

"I feel great," he said. "I feel better now than I have in 10 years."