OUR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT Tier 2 PROGRAM INCLUDES SEMAGLUTIDE, THE MEDICATION FOUND IN OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY
Ozempic was first approved in 2017 as a medication for Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity, compared to type 1 diabetes which is often associated with a genetic cause of diabetes seen in juveniles that are not necessarily overweight. In the process of reducing blood sugar and regulating insulin, Ozempic was found to also help patients lose weight.
While it’s legally permissible to use Ozempic for its weight loss benefits rather than to treat type 2 diabetes (off label use), the company that makes Ozempic, Novo Nordisk, also obtained FDA approval for Wegovy in 2021. So rather than obtaining Ozempic for the off label treatment of obesity, Wegovy can be prescribed for the express purpose of weight loss rather than diabetes. But treatment comes at a cost, especially if insurance coverage is not available.
As you can see, purchasing a month supply of Wegovy (just the medication), can cost anywhere from $1300 to $1400 per month. Insurance won’t necessarily cover this medication if you don’t have the risk factors required to be a candidate – diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. To clarify, even without these risk factors, you can still get these medications but insurance won’t cover it and you’ll need to pay out of pocket.
And since Ozempic (the sister medication to Wegovy) isn’t technically approved for the off-label use of treating obesity (remember, it’s only approved to treat type 2 diabetes), you definitely won’t have luck with insurance coverage since insurance typically only covers on-label use.
A Less Expensive Alternative
At Biosymmetry, the semaglutide injections you receive weekly as part of our Medical Weight Management Program will be significantly less per month. In addition to the medication, you’ll receive oversight and coaching by a doctor, nurse practitioner and medical assistant. Keep in mind insurance does not cover our program or the medication we provide but at least it’s a less expensive alternative than purchasing the brand name medications without coverage.
Risk vs Benefits
And that’s a common theme with these medications. Each person must weigh the pros and cons for themselves. If you’re morbidly obese and need to lose 100 pounds, you may be willing to accept the risk of nausea, especially when you can take other medication (Zofran) to alleviate those symptoms.
Many often ask about the risk of medullary thyroid cancer seen in some rats during studies with incretin mimetics. Some rats exposed to these medications in the lab developed medullary thyroid cancer but so did some of the rats that were taking a placebo (not the medication) as part of the control group.
Additionally, the FDA has not been able to determine if this is significant in the development of medullary thyroid cancer in humans. The incidence of medullary thyroid cancer in humans has been rare and stable in humans for over 30 years even though this class of medications has been used in humans for over 20 years. So, no increased incidence. But if you’re still worried about getting thyroid cancer with these medications, then I would argue that your risk of dying from heart disease and diabetes by not taking these medications is significantly higher than the risk of dying from a rare form of thyroid cancer by taking these medications.
Visit our Weight Management Program page to learn more. Contact us if you have more questions.