It's time to 'fully embrace' weight loss drugs, ECRI says

After debunking common myths about weight loss drugs, the Emergency Care Research Institute, a patient safety nonprofit, said healthcare needs to "fully embrace" these FDA-approved medications. 

"A large body of evidence shows that these drugs are beneficial as an adjunct to diet, exercise and counseling," ECRI wrote in a Jan. 10 news release. Approved weight loss drugs "should be considered for first-line treatment in many patients."

The main hurdle curbing weight loss drug use is the cost: Monthly injections can be about $1,200 per dose and oral medications can cost up to $250 a month, the nonprofit said.

Weight loss drugs are seldom covered by insurance plans and are excluded from Medicare Part D, according to ICER, which could also be contributing to the slow uptake. 

"Physicians must set aside the misinformation about weight-loss drugs and personal biases about whether and how people can recover from obesity," Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD, president and CEO of ECRI, said in the release. "Every person who loses excess weight improves their health, decreases the likelihood of future medical issues and cuts healthcare costs. We need to use every tool in our arsenal to help them."

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