Every day, we are bombarded with new information regarding weight-loss medications as a silver-bullet solution. For both you and your employees, it’s like drinking from a fire hose. The latest generation of weight-loss medications has received a lot of press due to an average of 15-20% one-year weight-loss efficacy with good safety profiles.1 But with the question of cost and longevity, it’s not as simple as it seems. In today’s information-saturated world, it becomes increasingly crucial to discern truth from fiction. To gain a clearer understanding on weight-loss medication’s role in sustainable health outcomes, let’s explore five must-know-myths about weight-loss medications:
Myth #1: These newer medications are one-size-fits-all
GLP-1 medications have been on the market for diabetes for years, and a few have recently been approved for weight-loss treatment—you’ve probably seen them in the news and your social feed—with even more options on the horizon. Though the results look promising, GLP-1s are not for everyone. Not only are there strict guidelines on who qualifies for these medications, there’s also an entire spectrum of little talked about weight-loss medications available on the market that aren’t GLP-1s. It’s important to note that these medications aren’t one-size-fits-all. It’s critical to utilize tailored medication management to fit the personal needs of your population.
Myth #2: Weight loss is the biggest benefit of these medications
In the news you see stories of dramatic weight loss, but what you don’t see is the widespread impact of such weight loss. The benefits of such extreme weight loss go far beyond the scale—odds are we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of benefits. Weight loss with the use of these medications substantially reduces the risk of diabetes, reverses metabolic syndrome, decreases the probability of strokes, heart attacks, and so much more—consider all the comorbidities associated with obesity, the list goes on.
Myth #3: The grass is greener on the other side of weight loss
We’ve all heard the “once I lose the weight, I’ll…” statements. The fact of the matter is, losing weight is not a fix-all solution. Sustained weight loss does improve overall quality of life, including confidence, energy, and reduced MSK (musculoskeletal) pain, but it doesn’t magically fix life challenges that aren’t directly related to weight. Focusing solely on the scale is a short-sighted solution—if the root cause of obesity isn’t addressed, weight-loss medications are simply a band-aid solution. This is why having the support of a clinically effective behavior program, like Wondr, in addition to the use of weight-loss medications is key for your population to address the root cause of obesity and experience sustainable weight loss.
Myth #4: The price is set in stone
One of the trickiest things about weight-loss medications is understanding the price. The price you see is almost never what you pay. While some older medications are relatively low cost, the newer and more effective medications are quite expensive. Additionally, these new medications are indicated for long-term chronic weight management—upping the cost even more. With reimbursement programs and rebates, it’s impossible to have the price set in stone. The conversation surrounding price has always been a complex one, and the solution is far from near.
Myth #5: There are other, over-the-counter solutions that are just as effective
We’ve all seen the advertisements on social media for “nature’s Ozempic”. When it comes to your health, and the health of your population, it’s critical to rely on advice from experts, rather than influencers. There is no magic pill or shot that will fix all problems. Weight loss takes time, patience, and most importantly, behavioral change.
If you take away anything, let it be this: weight-loss medications present promising, clinical results, but individuals who receive tailored treatment based on their needs achieve greater weight loss, and pairing weight-loss medications with behavior change support is significantly more effective at sustained weight loss than taking weight-loss medications alone.2
Want to learn more about weight-loss medications? Join Dr. Tim Church, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Wondr Health, and Dr. Katherine H. Saunders, MD, DABOM, Co-Founder of InteliHealth, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine for “The Promise and Pitfalls of Anti-Obesity Medications” webinar as they dive deeper into what organizations need to know to control costs and maximize results.
1 Lundgren JR, et al. Healthy Weight Loss Maintenance with Exercise, Liraglutide, or Both Combined. N Engl J Med.
2Höchsmann C, et al. Association between weight loss, change in physical activity, and change in quality of life following a corporately sponsored, online weight loss program. BMC Public Health.