Is Weight Loss Medication Right for You?

In recent years, treatments like Semaglutide have become popular due to their purported benefits. As an appetite-reducing treatment, Semaglutide is marketed as a great way for patients to reach their weight loss goals. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, some patients claim to shed pounds faster than ever.

This new buzz has caused weight loss medication to become one of the most sought-after treatments in the weight loss industry. Our team wonders if this is just a passing fad. While treatments like Semaglutide (sold under brand names such as Ozempic or Wegovy) and Liraglutide (sold as Saxenda) are certainly effective and helpful to many patients, we don’t always recommend them for our patients in Las Vegas.

Considerations for Prospective Weight Loss Medication Patients 

How Much Weight are You Looking to Lose?

Patients who are looking to lose a modest amount of weight will probably benefit most from these weight-loss programs. On average, patients lose roughly 7 to 8 pounds in their first month of Semaglutide or Liraglutide treatments. While that may be a lot to some, for others, it falls far short of the goal. 

What is the Appropriate BMI for Weight Loss Injections?

Patients who have a BMI under 30 are typically not considered candidates for treatment. Weight loss injections are typically reserved for those whose BMIs are at least 30 and who have had their health impacted by their weight. That said, patients with a BMI as low as 27 may be eligible if they are struggling with certain weight-related health conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc). 

Weight loss medication is considered to be a great option for obese patients who are looking to undergo surgery, such as Gastric Sleeve but need to lose a certain amount of weight before being cleared. These individuals typically have a high BMI of 60 or over. To have safe surgery, your surgeon will encourage you to lose weight. Additionally, bariatric surgery can be dangerous for patients with a higher BMI, as there is a higher likelihood of developing complications.


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Does insurance cover medical weight loss treatments?

Ozempic and other weight loss medications are typically not covered by insurance plans. This is due to the fact that they are typically classified as cosmetic treatments. As with any type of treatment, patients will need to prove that their weight loss injections are a medical necessity in order to get approval from their insurance providers. 

In order to be approved, both the patient and practitioner must fill out forms and send them to the insurance provider. These include at least three LOMN (letters of medical necessity) with extensive documentation of the patient’s weight issues. Overall, just applying for insurance coverage for these treatments is a lengthy process that many practitioners simply don’t have patience for. Patients should be advised that going out of pocket for weight loss injections can be costly. 

Who is a Candidate for Medical Weight Loss?

Weight loss injections are available only through licensed weight loss practitioners as prescription medications. However, not all patients may qualify for this treatment. Eligibility requires a BMI of 30 or above, while a BMI of 27 is considered with weight-related conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension. It is worth mentioning that Semaglutide and related products were originally developed as diabetes treatments before being employed as weight loss protocols. As such, patients who are diabetic are ideal candidates, as the injections can help with insulin resistance. 

In the private consultation, we thoroughly assess the patient's medical history and current status to determine their suitability for weight loss injections. Candidates with a history of tumors or cancer are generally not considered. Complete disclosure of current medications is essential during the consultation.

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Do Weight Loss injections Come with any Side Effects?

Some known side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea 
  • Tiredness 
  • Dizziness

There may be other long-term effects that we are unaware of at this time. This is simply due to the fact that Ozempic and related treatments are new, and there is no data on what patients experience in the long term. Patients should be aware of this when going forward with treatment. 

Do I Have to Stay on Medical Weight Loss Treatments Forever?

Discontinuing the treatments will result in a return of pre-treatment symptoms. Patients will again experience normal hunger levels and could potentially go back to their old eating habits. The only way to maintain the effects long-term is to continue treatment. However, those who make significant lifestyle changes in conjunction with their weight loss treatments will have an easier time keeping weight off in the future

Is Surgery the Best way to Achieve Long-Lasting Results?

It’s no secret that surgical procedures can achieve permanent results. The weight lost during surgery seldom returns. That said, patients who are unable to make lifestyle changes may eventually return to their original weight. Achieving long-lasting weight loss requires a comprehensive approach and a change in mindset. 

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Learn more about weight loss medication and surgery

We invite all patients to attend our informational seminar to learn more about our various treatment options. The team at Las Vegas Bariatrics has years of experience in helping patients address their weight-related issues. Contact us to set up a private consultation.

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