What do doctors normally prescribe for weight loss?
There are a variety of weight loss drugs that are FDA approved for treatment of weight loss, including Saxenda (liraglutide), Xenical (orlistat), Wegovy (semaglutide), Contrave (bupropion-naltrexone), and Plenity. Our board-certified doctors can prescribe weight loss medications, after conducting an initial consultation online and ordering any necessary evaluations to the lab nearest you. After completing any necessary testing, your doctor will discuss the best medication options for you, if you qualify. It is important to note that medication is only effective in combination with healthy lifestyle changes.
Who shouldn’t take weight loss medications?
Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe to take weight loss medications if you have any of the following conditions:
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Thyroid tumors
- High blood pressure
In general, weight loss medications are for patients with a BMI of over 27. If your BMI is less than 27, our doctors can help with diet, exercise, health coaching, and may be able to prescribe weight loss medications such as Topiramate, Wellbutrin, Contrave, or Plenity.
If you have symptoms of an active eating disorder, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, our doctors cannot treat you with weight loss medication. However, our doctors are still happy to speak with you about any of your health concerns.
How long does it take for weight loss medications to work?
Most patients on weight loss medications can begin losing weight within weeks, when used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise plan. If you are not seeing results within 12 weeks, your doctor may develop a different weight management plan.
What should I avoid with weight loss medications?
Weight loss medications can interact with a variety of drugs. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Other diabetes medications
- Hormonal birth control
- Herbal weight loss products or other supplements
- Vitamin B12 and vitamin D3
Is weight loss medication safe for me to take?
Every medication has potential side effects, risks, and benefits. Talk to one of our doctors to discuss the pros and cons of using medications for weight loss for your unique needs.
Am I eligible for weight loss medication?
Weight loss medication is not necessarily for everyone. Book a visit with one of our board-certified doctors to determine the optimal weight management plan for your specific needs. This plan may or may not include medication. However, if you are not eligible for medication, our doctors can still help with diet, exercise, and health coaching as part of a customized weight management plan.
Can I use insurance for weight loss medication?
Yes, we are in network with most major insurance providers.
However, most branded weight loss medications require prior authorization in order for insurance to cover the cost. Your Accolade Care physician and care team will reach out to your insurer on your behalf, and this process can take several business days. If you are denied the prior authorization or do not have health insurance, you may still purchase the medication at the full cash price.
How much will weight loss medication cost?
Prices vary depending on the medication type, and whether or not you use insurance to pay for it. Most branded weight loss medications require prior authorization in order for insurance to cover the cost. The good news is that even if you are uninsured, our members save an average of 58% on prescriptions through our member discount card.
Is weight loss medication effective?
Weight loss medication has proven to be an effective component in losing and keeping off weight, but it should be complemented by appropriate dietary choices and exercise. Our doctors will work with you to determine if medication is right for you, and they will set realistic expectations based on your personal habits and lifestyle.
I have a normal BMI—can I get a prescription for a weight loss drug?
No, we do not treat new patients with normal BMI with weight loss pharmacotherapy, unless the patient shares outside records documenting previous obesity.
If I take weight management medications, do I still need to eat healthy and exercise to lose weight?
Yes, weight loss medications are most effective when part of a holistic treatment plan, including long term lifestyle changes. A board-certified doctor will work with you to determine a diet and exercise plan that works for you.
Are weight management medications safe?
There are many safe FDA-approved weight loss medications for long-term use. These medications are safe for most people. Our doctors will work with you to evaluate your options and choose a weight loss medication that is safe and effective for you.
How much weight can I expect to lose with lifestyle modification and weight management medications?
You can expect to lose about 5-10% of your body weight, compared to your starting weight. This means that if you weighed 200 pounds, you could expect to lose 10-20 pounds, by incorporating lifestyle changes in addition to medication.
Once I lose weight, can I stop my weight management medication?
It depends on the individual. Some patients can effectively discontinue weight management medications when they reach their goal, but others may need to stay on medicine for the long term to avoid relapsing. Weight loss medication is often meant for long term use. Once you lose weight, you may need to continue the medication to avoid relapse. Your Accolade Care doctor can help you make the decision on whether to continue or stop medications.
What happens when you stop taking weight loss medications?
When weight loss medications are stopped, many people gain the weight back. Drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic lower a person's appetite to help with weight loss, but experts suggest that once people stop taking these drugs, they can experience weight gain. The rates of weight gain after stopping Wegovy vary depending on the individual, and available data suggests that with some individuals, weight gain will come back earlier, and with others, it may come later.