Medical Weight Loss Program
Our Medical Weight Loss Program is supervised by Dr. Houston and includes a team of nurse practitioners and registered dietitians. There are two aspects of our program: prescription medications for weight loss and STAR Coaching. You will first meet with one of our providers to review your medical history and determine which medication is right for you. This is followed by monthly visits to monitor potential side effects, as well as the effectiveness of the medications. Our providers also review your progress and monitor your overall health related to your diet and exercise program.
STAR (Start Transforming and Achieve Results) Coaching is the nutritional education and accountability portion of our Medical Weight Loss Program. It begins with a comprehensive nutritional assessment by our registered dietitian where you will be weighed, measured, given meal plans, and educated on how to eat healthily for weight loss. After the initial assessment, you will meet with the dietitian monthly in conjunction with your provider visits to answer questions, review your food journal, and adjust your eating plan as necessary for continued success.
Medications for Weight Loss
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 Obalon® Gastric Balloon. Depending on your medical history and insurance coverage, one or possibly two of these drugs can be used to achieve results.
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.
Qsymia is a combination of Phentermine and Topomax. It can be used for the long-term treatment 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.
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 appetite 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.
Wegovy is a GLP-1 receptor agonist similar to Saxenda that is injected once weekly. It works in the brain to reduce hunger and cravings, as well as directly acting on the stomach to slow gastric emptying. Patients are full and satisfied with smaller meals. Recent studies with Wegovy prove it to be one on the best weight loss medications on the market today!
STAR Coaching provides the education and accountability you need to develop healthy eating habits and lose weight. STAR is led by our registered dietitian, Katie, who is passionate about health and fitness and will partner with you to transform your lifestyle. Katie uses her expertise to educate you on healthy eating and nutrition, focusing on helping you understand the “why” behind our healthy eating plan. This education empowers you to eat healthier and lose weight and is key to maintaining this lifestyle once you reach your goal.
Accountability is a crucial aspect of STAR. You won’t always be motivated to stick to your healthy eating plan, but consistent communication with our coach along with regular weigh-ins and personalized meal plans helps you achieve results.
Provider visits for weight loss counseling and prescribing these medications are billed to your insurance company like regular office visits (co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pockets apply). Unfortunately, most routine dietitian visits are not covered by insurance companies. So, there is a one time fee of $300 for our STAR Coaching services. This includes program materials, the initial assessment, close monitoring for the first month, and monthly visits thereafter as long as you remain in the program.
Insurance coverage for weight loss medications is widely variable. 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 specifically if they cover the weight loss medications Contrave, Qsymia, Saxenda, or Wegovy. If they are covered, then the cost is usually $30-40/month. If they aren't covered, then some drugs like Contrave and Qsymia can be affordable at $95/month. Unfortunately, Saxenda and Wegovy can be cost prohibitive (>$1,000/month) if you do have insurance coverage for these medications. You may click here to see if you have coverage for Saxenda or click here to see if you have coverage for Wegovy. Phentermine is usually not covered by insurance, but it is very affordable at approximately $20-30/month.