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As weight loss drugs become easier to access, experts call for physician oversight

As weight loss drugs become easier to access, experts call for physician oversight


FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — It's everywhere. Urgent care, medical spas, and even online. Ozempic and other similar weight loss drugs appear to be available to everyone.

Amber Contino received semaglutide injections for about eight months, and her weight returned to her pre-pregnancy weight.

“There's nothing better than feeling good about yourself and having three kids and saying, look, I'm at my pre-baby weight and I feel great. It's amazing,” Contino said. . .

Semaglutide is the main ingredient in the diabetes drug Ozempic.

This is one of the few off-the-shelf versions for people who are not diabetic or obese.

“It can be safe and effective. But people should not assume there is zero risk, because there is no such thing,” said ABC chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton. Stated.

Dr. Ashton advises people to see their doctor and get a prescription for weight loss medication. This will help your doctor monitor your progress and understand any side effects.

“We're seeing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, digestive issues, something called gastroparesis, or dysfunction in the forward movement of the gastrointestinal tract, pancreatitis. So there's a very long list,” Ashton says. the doctor said.

But now, conversations between patients and doctors are virtual.

Last December, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced Zepbound injection, a sister drug to its diabetes drug Munjaro. Both contain the ingredient tirzepatide.

Visit the new Lilly Direct website to get your Zepbound telemedicine prescription. Products are shipped directly to customers.

“Too many hurdles prevent people with obesity from receiving obesity treatments that can lead to significant weight loss,” Eli Lilly said in a statement.

Price can be the biggest barrier when it comes to accessing medicines.

“When you're talking about a society where more than 60% of the adult population is overweight or obese, these drugs have a very significant track record of effectiveness, so it's important to make these drugs more available to patients and people. “I believe it is absolutely necessary to do so,” Dr. Ashton said.

Lilly is trying to break down those barriers by helping bring down drug prices.

According to Lilly's website, Zepbound costs just over $1,000.

Patients can receive discounts if they qualify for a savings card program.

Costs vary depending on insurance coverage, but Zepbound can cost as low as $25 and as high as $550.

At Optimal Medical Group in northwest Fresno, a 12-week weight loss program costs about $3,000. This includes medications, physical exams, follow-up appointments, and nutrition and fitness education.

Dr. Lucia Mireles Chavez calls this an investment in the patient's overall long-term health.

“So many people have successfully controlled their diabetes, lost weight, and become more active because of it,” said Dr. Mireles Chavez.

I also found semaglutide injection online at It is listed for $499.

Customers simply upload their ID and insurance card.

They complete the lab work and then ship the injections to customers.

Although access is increasing and prices are falling, doctors remain concerned about the misuse of weight loss drugs and stress that not everyone is a perfect fit.

“This is a drug like any other drug, and it needs to be administered with care,” said Dr. Mireles Chavez.

Doctors say if you're interested in using any weight-loss drugs, be sure to ask your doctor about your medical history, whether in-person or online.

Remember that these drugs are not suitable for everyone. Therefore, if you have certain medical conditions, you may not be able to tolerate the medication.

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