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What to know about off-label medication for weight loss—and how it could work for you

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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.

Found offers medications that are approved by the 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 originally approved for. 

Take, for example, metformin. It’s approved for managing Type 2 diabetes, but there is good evidence that it can also aid weight loss. Other prime examples are naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone is approved to treat opioid and alcohol abuse and bupropion can help with depression and tobacco cessation—and both have been found to aid in a successful and safe weight journey. In fact, these two meds are combined in the commonly known AOM, Contrave. So, by prescribing these two off-label, the provider is able to adjust the dosing to better fit patient needs and even make it more cost effective. 

This practice is called off-label prescribing. It’s a common practice that’s done because advances in medicine sometimes outpace the FDA’s review process—meaning that clinicians are aware of research-backed benefits that a medication may have on a disease or condition before the FDA approves the drug for additional uses. 

Are off-label medications safe?

TL;DR: Yes. A drug being prescribed off-label is already FDA-approved for some other medical condition. Clinical trials have demonstrated how safe and effective many medications are for off-label usage—all sorts of medications, not just those for weight loss. In other words, the same benefits and risks of approved-use medications apply to off-label ones. 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 abuse treatment. Your Found provider will be sure to review all 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.

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. 

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.

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