Using GLP-1 drug injections for weight loss has become one of the latest ways some big names in the market are shedding extra pounds. Elon Musk recently tweeted on how using Wegovy from Novo Nordisk helped him lose weight. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin recently told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that using a different version of the same Novo Nordisk drug, Ozempic, which is most commonly associated with diabetes care, makes it a lot less hungry.
“The weekly shot is amazing. … I started this about a year ago, it changed my life,” Rubin said.
Social media influencer Remi Bader said he was prescribed Ozempic after experiencing insulin issues and weight gain.
GLP-1s – which stands for glucagon-like peptide-1 – are receptor agonists that work by mimicking the effects of the GLP-1 hormone, activating GLP-1 receptors inside the pancreas and producing more of insulin inside the body. Insulin helps lower blood sugar levels, which may be helpful in the management of type 2 diabetes. GLP-1s have also been found to help with weight loss because they allow people who use to feel full longer.
According to Zachariah Reitano, co-founder and CEO of telehealth company Ro. That’s why his company launched a program to provide GLP-1 drugs and related medical care to people struggling with obesity or weight loss.
“I think what we’re able to do now is leverage all the technology we have to give everyone access to something that only a few people have access to right now,” Reitano said in a recent interview. with CNBC.
Ro’s Body Program offers personalized treatment for GLP-1 and weight management. The one-year program uses a combination of GLP-1 and personal coaching. In clinical trials, these drugs helped participants lose an average of 15% of their weight in one year.
Combining personalized coaching with GLP-1s is key to effective weight loss treatment, Reitano said, and helps patients maximize their results.
“I think what’s really important is, yes, it’s access to the drugs…but once they have the drugs, we want to hold their hand through the process, and we built the technology to be able to do it at scale,” Reitano said.
With the Ro Body program, participants first receive a diagnosis, enter information about their medical history, weight loss and obesity issues, as well as their lifestyle and diet, and then receive a blood test. home lab to obtain blood glucose A1C test measurements, cholesterol and kidney function, among other health parameters. Based on their test results and an initial consultation, a doctor may prescribe patients to start with a low dose of GLP-1 that is slowly increased over time to reach the desired dose.
Diabetes, Obesity and the National Drug Controversy
Ozempic – the brand of semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, marketed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes – recently made headlines for a nationwide shortage as its use as a weight-loss drug grew in popularity . When Wegovy, the brand of semaglutide marketed for weight management, began experiencing shortages, some users of the drug were prescribed off-brand Ozempic, which made the drug much harder to find. Many people with type 2 diabetes who relied on Ozempic to treat it had to scramble to find the drug. There have also been reports of people looking for weight loss help turning to several other drug solutions due to the difficulty in finding GLP-1 drugs.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes affect a large number of Americans. According to the CDC, the adult obesity rate in the United States was 41.9% in 2017, and about one in 10 people in the United States have type 2 diabetes. Reitano said it’s important to recognize both obesity and diabetes as diseases that deserve appropriate treatment.
“I think what we’re really going to see over the next 5 to 10 years is a weight-centric approach to metabolic health,” said Reitano, who noted in a later interview with CNBC’s “Mad Money” on Thursday. evening that his father’s personal experience with GLP-1 drugs was a motivating factor for his business decision. “I saw that BPL had a huge impact on my father,” he said.
He told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that once-a-week injections do three “very, very important things” when it comes to obesity. They help regulate sugar levels; they help regulate appetite; and they slow the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This combination of controls helped patients in clinical studies lose an average of 15% of their body weight over one year.
Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, told NBC News last week that the company is still facing supply chain issues that will last through the month, although access to certain doses of Ozempic for patients with type 2 diabetes improved.
The GLP-1 drug Wegovy for weight problems or obesity is approved for people with a BMI over 26 and comorbidities, or those with a BMI over 30.
A new real-time approach to weight management
Reitano said that shouldn’t be a scenario involving weight loss diabetes management and that will change over the next decade.
“If we look at obesity as a disease, and we both focus on preventing it, but once it happens, treating it and treating it as a disease, I think we’re going to see an entirely different approach” , did he declare.
Reitano said the weight loss and obesity management program is part of his company’s larger goal of changing the way patients receive medical care and achieve their health goals, visits from the doctor to the pharmacy and ongoing management of health issues.
“High-quality obesity care is an important part of that,” he told Cramer. “Patients can’t just be given these drugs and be left on their own.”
In addition to shipping the GLP-1 drug to a patient’s home, the Ro Body program tracks patients in real time with remote monitoring. This is facilitated by a cell-connected smart scale also sent to the patient that tracks weight and sends data to an app so healthcare professionals can alter drug dosages to ensure the patient is receiving the correct dose for get the weight loss results they want. Patients also receive one-on-one coaching with nurses over a one-year period and up to 24 telehealth visits with a doctor.
“How quickly we can communicate with patients, update their plans and really be there for them and guide them through this experience, and have that serve as a really strong complement to their overall primary care, is one of the things that I think we’re really excited about,” Reitano said in a recent phone interview with CNBC.
The price of these drugs, however, is an issue, with Wegovy costing up to $1,700 a month without insurance. Reitano said Ro helps guide individuals through the insurance process and getting these drugs at the lowest price, but he conceded in his “Mad Money” interview that pricing in this pharmaceutical niche “can be difficult for patients.
The Ro Body program is the latest addition to Ro’s healthcare offerings. The company, which ranked No. 38 on the 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, began by selling men’s health care products, helping to treat issues such as erectile dysfunction and hair loss, and has since expanded to provide several home services including pharmaceuticals and fertility treatments.
CNBC is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Disruptor 50 list — our 11th annual look at the most innovative venture-backed companies. Learn more about eligibility and how to submit an application by Friday, February 17.
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