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 way in which again to the ’50s and ’60s – like phentermine, which continues to be one of the crucial broadly prescribed drugs on the planet,” stated Anthony Auriemma, MD, medical director of Ascension Illinois Weight Loss Options.

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

“Many individuals say that the GLP-1s are the primary drugs to offer 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 30 days, and generic phentermine as little as $20 per 30 days, Auriemma stated. You could find Xenical for $200 to $300 per 30 days. Examine these prices to GLP-1s, like Ozempic, the place you might be shelling out a minimal of $500, all the way in which as much as hundreds of {dollars}, per 30 days. 

An impartial evaluation by the Institute for Scientific and Financial Assessment 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 operate can hold 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 speak about gastroparesis, or abdomen paralysis,” stated Auriemma. 

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

“In case you can’t afford GLP-1s, your insurance coverage doesn’t wish to cowl them, otherwise you should not have entry, there are different choices which are already FDA-approved,” stated Acosta. “After we try this map between value and consequence, that’s when these different drugs, notably phentermine/topiramate, turn into probably the most value efficient.”

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