Understanding off-label weight loss medication — and how it could work for you

Understanding off-label weight loss medication — and how it could work for you

Understanding off-label weight loss medication — and how it could work for you

A question we get a lot is: Why don’t I recognize the names of the medications my Found provider prescribes me? And hey, you’re smart to ask about anything going into your body.

Morgan Pavon, MS, RD, LD
Last updated:
November 1, 2022
5 min read
Table of Contents
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A question we often get is: Why don’t I recognize the names of the medications my Found provider prescribes me? And hey, you’re smart to ask about anything going into your body.

Found offers medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat specific diseases, such as anti-obesity medications (AOMs). But providers can also use their clinical judgment to prescribe medications to treat conditions or diseases beyond what they were approved for originally. And that allows Found’s physicians to offer a wide variety of weight care medications.

Take, for example, Ozempic, Trulicity, or liraglutide, which are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists* designed to help regulate blood sugar. They’re approved for managing type 2 diabetes, although there’s good evidence that they can also support weight loss. Other examples of off-label drugs that can help weight loss are naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone is approved to treat opioid and alcohol abuse; bupropion is approved for depression and tobacco cessation—and both have been found to support a successful weight journey. By prescribing these medicines off-label, a provider can adjust the dosage to better fit their patient’s needs, and even make treatment more cost-effective. 

This usage is called off-label prescribing and it’s a common clinical practice that’s done because advances in medicine sometimes outpace the FDA’s review process. Often clinicians are aware of research-backed benefits that a medication may have on a chronic disease or condition before the FDA approves the drug for additional uses, such as weight management. 

Are off-label medications safe?

TL;DR: Yes. A drug prescribed for off-label use by a health care provider is already FDA-approved for another medical condition. Clinical trials have demonstrated how effective many medications are for off-label usage—all sorts of medications, not just those that can treat obesity. In other words, the same benefits, risks and side effects for approved-use medications apply to them when used off-label. One that comes to mind is gabapentin. It’s a commonly prescribed anti-seizure medication that is frequently used off-label for anxiety, postoperative pain relief, and alcohol-withdrawal. 

Why take medication at all?

Often, our members have tried many (many!) other ways to lose weight besides medication—such as diet, exercise, managing stress, and improving their sleep. Those things are all important for a successful weight journey. But there’s good evidence that those steps aren’t always enough and that different medications—or combinations of medications—are necessary for successful, long-term weight loss. Your Found provider will review the details of your prescribed medication with you. Your program is personalized and individualized to you, and all medications are used in the most secure way possible.

How the Found program works

The Found journey begins with a health quiz to determine which path is right for you - the “wellness path” or “Rx path”. If you qualify for the Rx path (Found’s most common plan) you can expect to undergo an evaluation with a board-certified medical provider in order to find the right medication. Some medications target the reward center in your brain to curb cravings, while others may stabilize your blood sugar, or help control your appetite. Whatever the medication may be, you can be confident in knowing that it caters to your unique biology. 

Alongside medication, lifestyle modifications are crucial to sustainable weight loss. Which is why as a Found member you will get access to a supportive community with other Found members, science backed health content, and a digital app to provide accountability and support as you create sustainable habits across your nutrition, movement, sleep, and mental health. 


GLP-1*

GLP-1 prescriptions, filled through your local pharmacy, are now available as part of Found's weight-loss toolkit. While GLP-1s are effective for weight loss, they are not clinically appropriate for everyone. Eligibility for a GLP-1 is based on a thorough evaluation of your medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate for you, our providers will work with you to determine an effective medication for your health profile.

About Found

Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.

Published date:
November 1, 2022
Meet the author
Morgan Pavon, MS, RD, LD
Health writer

Sources

  • Dunne SS, Dunne CP. What do people really think of generic medicines? A systematic review and critical appraisal of literature on stakeholder perceptions of generic drugs. BMC Med. 2015;13:173. Published 2015 Jul 29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4520280/
  • Harvard Health Publishing. (2021, February 12). Do generic drugs compromise quality? Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/do-generic-drugs-compromise-on-quality
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2021, March 16). Generic Drugs: Questions and Answers. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/questions-answers/generic-drugs-questions-answers
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