Weight Loss Medications
There are many powerful weight loss drugs on the market today that work in different ways to suppress appetite, decrease cravings, reduce portions, and even boost metabolism. We have been utilizing these medications with great success with diet and exercise alone or in combination with other programs like the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method or the ORBERA® Gastric Balloon. Depending on your medical history and insurance coverage, one or possibly two of these drugs can be used to achieve results.
Adipex-P® (Phentermine Hydrochloride)
Adipex is the leading brand name of the generic drug Phentermine, which is similar in structure to amphetamine. By affecting parts of the central nervous system, Phentermine enables a person to lose weight by suppressing their appetite and increasing their energy level. In combination with a healthy diet and exercise, Phentermine helps people trying to lose weight modify their lifestyle and reach significant weight loss results. However, Phentermine is not approved for long-term use.
Belviq (Lorcaserin HCL)
Belviq stimulates serotonin receptors in the brain. The exact way Belviq works is not known. It is thought to work in the brain to decrease hunger and promote a full feeling. Unlike Phentermine, Beliviq is FDA-approved for long-term use in the treatment of obesity for adults with a BMI equal to or greater than 30 or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater who have at least one weight-related health condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Contrave is a combination drug treatment for obesity. It combines Bupropion (Wellbutrin) and Naltrexone. Each drug targets pathways in the central nervous system that influence food intake. Both drugs have individually shown some evidence of effectiveness in weight loss, and the combination is expected to have a synergistic effect. Contrave has an effect on the reward pathway in the brain that results in loss of appettite and reduced food craving.
Saxenda is a once daily injectable drug indicated for chronic weight management in adult patients with a BMI >30, or >27 with at least 1 weight-related comorbidity as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Saxenda is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that works in the brain to reduce appetite and cravings . In addition, there is a direct action on the stomach to slow gastric emptying, which promotes portion control and early satiety.
Qsymia is a combination of Phentermine and Topomax. It can be used for the long-term treament of obesity, since the Phentermine used in Qsymia is a lower dose than when Phentermine is used alone. This may be a good option for people who have done well with Phentermine but need long-term support.
The easiest way to find out if these drugs are covered by your insurance company is to call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask them if they cover weight loss medications. Ask them specifically if they cover ones like Belviq, Contrave, Saxenda, or Qsymia. If they are covered, then the cost is usually $30-40/month. If they aren't covered, then some like Belviq and Contrave can be affordable at $80-90/month. Saxenda unfortunately is cost prohibitive if insurance does not cover it (click here to see if you have coverage for Saxenda). Phentermine is usually not covered by insurance, but its cost is very affordable at approximately $20/month.
Physician visits for weight loss counseling and prescribing these medications are billed to your insurance company like regular office visits. Visits with the dietitian, exercise physiologist, and support group are included free of charge.