Having been in the weight loss field for over 10 years, the one question that I always get asked the most is “what’s new out there for weight loss?” In the past there have been few new things to report, but within the last year or so there have been many new developments that open up some powerful new weight loss options for 2015!
Intra-gastric Balloon – The intra-gastric balloon, or weight loss balloon, is a treatment that has been available in Europe for several years but was just approved by the FDA in the United States. Two balloons were approved in September 2015 — The Orbera Managed Weight Loss System and the ReShape Duo. Both balloons have excellent safety profiles and showed up to 3 times greater weight loss than with medical therapy alone! An incision-less, non-surgical procedure, this treatment is ideally suited for lower BMI patients (30-40) and is ideal for a motivated patient who does not want to permanently alter their anatomy. To learn more about gastric balloon click here.
Saxenda – Saxenda (liraglutide) is the newest weight loss drug available in the obesity arsenal. It is the same chemical compound as the diabetes medication Victoza, but in a higher dose. Provided in an easy-to-use pen for injection, Saxenda has been shown to provide at least 5% total body weight loss in 63% of patients.
Contrave – Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion) takes an interesting approach to weight loss in that it focuses more more on cravings than appetite. It is exciting in that it is not a controlled substance and can truly be used as a long-term therapy for maintenance of weight loss. Interestingly, the company provides a free digital wireless scale for users of Contrave that interacts with your smart phone to help keep you on track. The company provides coupons to our practice to enable patients to get their medication for $70 per month for the first two months, then $60 per month thereafter.
Belviq – Belviq (lorcaserin) is a new weight loss option that is not a stimulant so it avoids many of the side effects of older medications such as phentermine. It is dosed twice daily and can be used as long-term therapy for weight loss as long as the patient’s BMI is over 30, or 27 with a weight related medical problem. The company also provides coupons to our practice for patients to get their medication for $75 per month.
Combination Therapy – In my opinion, combination therapy is perhaps the most exciting development of them all. When it comes to cancer, doctors have known for nearly a century that just removing the tumor isn’t enough without chemo, and in most cases just treating a tumor with chemo doesn’t work without removing the tumor. Obesity is just like cancer in many ways; it is a systemic disease that often recurs when not completely treated. Combination therapy involves a surgical weight loss procedure, such as a sleeve gastrectomy, followed by maintenance treatment with a state-of-the-art weight loss medication such as Contrave or Belviq. Studies are just now coming to the forefront with this technique that show superior weight loss to surgery alone, and I believe that in years to come this will become the gold standard for the treatment of obesity.
New weight loss options will always be coming along, and you can count on us to keep you up to date!
Dr. Trace Curry