What You Need To Know About the Newer FDA Approved Weight Loss Medications

One of the known top root causes of Obesity is a condition called Insulin Resistance.  In simple terms, insulin resistance is when the cells in your body such as muscle have trouble responding to insulin and are not able to take up glucose from the bloodstream.

Experts say that obesity, especially with excess fat accumulated around the belly called visceral fat,

is the main cause of insulin resistance.

As a medical weight loss doctor of over 10 years, there have previously been FDA approved medications for weight loss; however, these medications fall into the stimulant category and can often lead to side effects related to high blood pressure, palpitations, and anxiety.  While these medications work well for appetite suppression and they also increase one’s metabolism, the side effects can be intolerable for many.

With these newer medications that come in injectables, there are no concerns related to heart issues, and according to clinical trials, these medications have the potential to produce 15-20% weight loss on average compared to the 5-10% with the older ones.

Currently, there are 3 medications in a similar drug class that works well for weight loss, but in a more targeted way.  Wegovy is FDA approved for weight loss, while Ozempic and Mounjaro are used for patients with diabetes.  Mounjaro, specifically, is on an escalated ticket for FDA approval for weight loss any day now.

All 3 of these medications essentially treat insulin resistance specifically by helping your pancreas secrete insulin more effectively and therefore have better control of your blood sugars.  It also helps curb your appetite both from a gut and brain component and help you feel full longer.  My patients say they feel like they are finally in control of their food intake while on these medications.


What are the medications we prescribe?

At Med-Fit, our medical professionals prescribe FDA approved medications that have been clinically studied for many years along with the newer medications that have come to the market in the recent years that belong to a group known as GLP-1s, which stands for glucagon-like peptide-1s. All of these FDA approved medications have been designed to help with appetite suppression, help enhance one’s metabolism through a variety of physiologic processes, and are intended to treat underlying causes of obesity which we recognize as a true metabolic disease.  Some of the classic medications used are Phentermine and Diethylpropion which are very effective, have been around for many years, and are affordable.  We also prescribe the new GLP-1s recognized by their brand names Wegovy®, Ozempic®, Mounjaro™, and others in the same family drug class.  All GLP-1s have undergone clinical testing, are free of stimulants, and are non-habit forming. They target the fundamental biological processes crucial for weight loss, aiding in the reduction of your body’s set point, which is the weight it naturally strives to maintain. GLP-1s are potent hormones naturally produced by your gastrointestinal tract. They transmit signals to your brain, leading to a decrease in appetite, enhanced metabolic function, and better digestion, allowing you to feel full for longer periods and optimize nutrient absorption.  Ultimately our medical professionals will help you identify which medication is the best option for you based on your needs and medical history, and we have the years of experience to help you navigate so that you can have more effective and long lasting results.


What are the side effects?  

These medications have a more gastrointestinal side effect profile including nausea, diarrhea, acid reflux, and stomach upset.  Given in once weekly injections (rather than in pill form), these recommended dosing guidelines is to start out at a low dose and then every 4 weeks or so, the dose can be gradually increased to the maintenance dose.  While some patients felt the nausea was mild and essentially helped them control their portion intake, others did require anti-nausea medication at times.


Do you have to be on these medications long-term?

There have been multiple articles highlighting that if you stop the medication, you merely gain the weight back.  Is that true?  The answer is easy.  If you didn’t put in the proper diet and exercise plan in place, you will most likely gain the weight back.  However, when we work with patients, we assign each patient an entire team of registered dietitians, accountability health coaches, and fitness trainers working together to help them learn how to make it a long term healthy lifestyle and are able to get off the medications while maintaining their weight off for good.


Are these medications covered under insurance?  How much do they cost out of pocket?

As of March 2023, in my clinical experience, I am seeing more insurances that do cover these medications, however many require a prior authorization.  If there is no insurance coverage, these medications can cost upwards of $1200/mo.  Some of the drug companies offer savings but there are also criteria involved for qualification.


How do I know if these medications are right for me?

That’s where we come in!  It is very important to be working with a medical weight loss specialist who can help you navigate through all the risks and benefits, how it works, how it can be used as a medical tool, and most importantly, how you can be successful long term.


What can I eat during the program?

We’ll never restrict your diet. Instead, we’ll help you rebalance it. Our approach to food is flexible and works with nearly all dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and lactose-free (to name just a few). We strive to help you establish a sustainable and flexible approach to nutrition that focuses on minimizing fast-digesting carbs and making healthier choices that include protein, fiber, and healthy fats—without restricting or counting calories.