article

Modified on

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

Take the quiz
Contents:

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 and safe weight journey. In fact, these two meds are in the commonly known AOM Contrave. So, by prescribing these two 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 safe and 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 Note: "Found is not currently prescribing GLP-1 medications for weight loss, but we are considering it as a part of our strategy to help members meet their weight-loss goals in the future. Stay tuned for updates on a potential GLP-1 rollout at Found. Until then, we can still help you meet your weight loss goals with our current online weight loss program."

Found offers a science-backed approach to weight care that's based on your unique biology, psychology, lifestyle, and prescription medication needs. Members receiving medication plus behavior change support from Found lost at least 13% more weight, and in some cases up to 229% more, compared to people receiving the same medication in clinical studies. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.

Find out what path is right for you

Continue