April 26, 2024 – Earlier than there was Ozempic, Wegovy, or Zepbound, there have been cost-friendly, secure, and efficient weight reduction medication. FDA-approved weight problems remedy like orlistat (model title: Xenical), phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia), and naltrexone/bupropion prolonged launch (Contrave) have been in the marketplace for many years.

“Some older weight problems drugs go all the best way again to the ’50s and ’60s – like phentermine, which remains to be one of the broadly prescribed drugs on the earth,” stated Anthony Auriemma, MD, medical director of Ascension Illinois Weight Loss Options.

Whereas newer GLP-1 medication like semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) typically result in better levels of weight reduction, the advantages of extra established medication – like decrease prices, ample provide, and ease of entry – additionally makes them useful choices, stated Andres Acosta, MD, an weight problems professional with the Mayo Clinic.

“Many individuals say that the GLP-1s are the primary drugs to provide you weight reduction at double digits,” he stated. “That’s not true. Qsymia was already at double digits, supplying you with 11% [of total body weight loss] on the medium dose and 13% on the excessive dose.” 

And two cost-friendly and efficient medication provide decrease levels of weight reduction: Contrave (round 9%) and Xenical (5% to six%). 

Some sufferers can get drugmaker coupons for Qsymia and Contrave for as little as $100 per thirty days, and generic phentermine as little as $20 per thirty days, Auriemma stated. You’ll find Xenical for $200 to $300 per thirty days. Examine these prices to GLP-1s, like Ozempic, the place you’re shelling out a minimal of $500, all the best way as much as hundreds of {dollars}, per thirty days. 

An impartial evaluation by the Institute for Scientific and Financial Evaluate discovered that Qsymia is probably the most cost-effective remedy amongst semaglutide and different weight problems medication that got here earlier than it. Qsymia’s “twin mechanism” suppresses your urge for food within the morning, and the extended-release perform can maintain you satiated into the afternoon – which implies much less snacking and extra energy, in response to John Amos, CEO of VIVUS, the drug firm behind Qsymia. 

One other key distinction between older weight problems medication and newer GLP-1s is that the previous are taken orally, and also you get the latter as photographs.

“The very nice factor about older drugs like phentermine, Contrave, or Qsymia is that the majority of them keep away from most of the gastrointestinal unintended effects that you simply hear about with GLP-1 medication, the place folks typically have issues about nauseavomiting, and a few discuss gastroparesis, or abdomen paralysis,” stated Auriemma. 

Bear in mind: Some sufferers might have to take weight problems drugs for longer durations of time, which makes searching for a cost-friendly drug much more vital. It’s also necessary to do not forget that weight problems drugs just isn’t “one-size-fits-all,” as a result of our our bodies wouldn’t have the identical reactions to drugs, nor can we all have comparable consuming habits and life. So present fads or waves of recognition shouldn’t be the decision-maker when contemplating a medicine. Communicate to your physician about which, if any, weight problems drug could possibly be best for you, Auriemma stated.

“For those who can’t afford GLP-1s, your insurance coverage doesn’t need to cowl them, otherwise you wouldn’t have entry, there are different choices which are already FDA-approved,” stated Acosta. “Once we do this map between price and consequence, that’s when these different drugs, notably phentermine/topiramate, develop into probably the most price efficient.”

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