It can be challenging to lose weight just by food and exercise, even though being overweight has been linked to a host of health problems. Medical aids for weight loss have been created, however, they may not be safe or effective for everyone. Medicare beneficiaries can make a more educated choice about these medications if they have a thorough understanding of how they operate and any dangers that may be associated with their use.
Common Types of Weight Loss Medication
Medication for weight loss, sometimes known as diet pills or weight management medication, works by decreasing food intake or increasing feelings of fullness. There are moments when they might do both. There are other drugs in this class that may also affect fat absorption negatively.
The following pharmaceuticals have been authorized by the FDA for use in the treatment of obesity:
- Orlistat (Xenical) (Xenical).
- Lorcaserin (Belviq) (Belviq).
- Combined naltrexone and bupropion (Contrave).
- Liraglutide (Saxenda) (Saxenda).
- Phentermine (Adipex or Suprenza) (Adipex or Suprenza).
- Combine phentermine with topiramate (Qsymia).
Benefits of Weight Loss Medication
Medications that aid in weight loss can improve a person’s health in several ways. Reducing obesity lowers the probability of getting diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some forms of cancer. Losing weight also helps reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Weight loss can help with a variety of mobility difficulties, including pain in the joints or back, as well as stiffness in the muscles.
Losing weight can prevent sleep apnea in some people who have it because obesity is a known cause of the disorder. Weight loss is associated with several positive changes in quality of life, including increased confidence, more energy, enhanced mood management, and less stress.
Side Effects and Risks Associated with Weight Loss Medication
Depending on the substance and the individual, side effects from prescription pharmaceuticals can range from mild to severe. Treatments for obesity can induce a range of side effects, from moderate nausea and headaches to potentially fatal heart and liver problems.
Before beginning any weight reduction drug, it is important to get your primary care doctor’s opinion on your overall health. While this reduces the risk of serious side effects, it may require you to go to regular checkups to see how the weight loss drug is working. Your doctor may advise you to switch to a non-stimulant weight loss medication if you are concerned about becoming addicted to stimulant-based medications.
Medicare Coverage for Weight Loss Medication
Prescription drugs are not covered by Original Medicare, which includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) unless they are given to the patient as part of an inpatient or outpatient stay. None of the weight-loss drugs currently on the market meet these criteria.
In addition, weight loss drugs are not often covered by Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs). Because these PDPs are provided by private insurers under contract with Medicare, their coverage details and drug lists are subject to annual renewal. Part A and Part B coverage is included in Medicare Advantage plans, and in some cases, coverage for weight reduction treatments is expanded to a greater extent.