New GLP-1 weight loss drugs are about to be shipped to more American homes

The use of GLP-1 drug injections for weight loss has become one of the latest ways that some big names in the market are shedding extra pounds. Elon Musk recently he tweeted about how using Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy helped him lose weight. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin recently told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that using a different version of the same drug from Novo Nordisk, Ozempic, which is more often associated with treating diabetes, it made him much less hungry.

“Weekly Photography is amazing…I started this about a year ago, it’s changed my life,” said Rubin.

Social media influencer Remi Bader said she was prescribed Ozempic after experiencing problems with insulin and weight gain.

GLP-1s, which stand for glucagon-like peptide-1, are receptor agonists that work by mimicking the effects of the GLP-1 hormone, activating GLP-1 receptors within the pancreas and producing more insulin within the body. Insulin helps lower blood sugar levels, which can be helpful in controlling type 2 diabetes. GLP-1s have also been found to help with weight loss, making people who use them feel fuller for a longer period of time.

According to Zachariah Reitano, co-founder and CEO of telehealth company Ro. That is why his company has launched a program to offer GLP-1 drugs and the corresponding medical care to people with obesity or weight loss problems.

“I think what we can do now is take advantage of all the technology that we have to give everyone access to something that only a few people have access to 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 training. In clinical trials, these drugs have helped participants lose an average of 15% of their weight over a year.

Combining personalized training with GLP-1 is the key to effective weight loss treatment, Reitano said, and helping patients maximize their results.

“I think what’s really important is, yes, it’s access to the medication…but once they have the medication, we want to hold their hand through the whole process, and we’ve built the technology to be able to— scale it . . ,” Reitano said.

With the Ro Body program, participants are first diagnosed, entering information about their health history, any weight loss and obesity challenges, lifestyle and diet, and then sent a lab test at home to obtain blood sugar test measurements A1C, cholesterol. and kidney function, among other health metrics. Based on 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 a nationwide drug controversy

Ozempic, the brand name for 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 gain popularity When Wegovy, the brand of semaglutide marketed for weight management, began experiencing shortages, some who used the drug were prescribed off-brand Ozempic, making the drug much harder to find. Many with type 2 diabetes who relied on Ozempic to treat it have been left scrambling to find the drug. There have also been reports of people seeking help with weight loss turning to various other pharmaceutical solutions as a result of difficulty finding GLP-1 medications.

Both obesity and type 2 diabetes affect large numbers of Americans. According to the CDC, the adult obesity rate in the U.S. was 41.9 percent in 2017, and about one in 10 people in the U.S. has 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 actually going to see over the next 5 to 10 years is a weight-focused approach to metabolic health,” said Reitano, who noted in an interview after CNBC’s “Mad Money” Thursday night than his father Personal experience with GLP-1 drugs was a motivating factor for his business decision. “I’ve seen LPG have a huge impact on my father,” he said.

He told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that the once-weekly injections do three “very, very important things” when it comes to obesity. They help regulate sugar levels; they help regulate appetite; and slow the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This combination of controls has helped patients in clinical studies lose an average of 15% of their body weight over a year.

Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, told NBC News last week that the company still has supply chain issues that will last throughout the month, although access to some doses of Ozempic for patients with type 2 diabetes has improved.

The GLP-1 drug Wegovy for weight or obesity problems is approved for people with a BMI greater than 26 and comorbidities, or those with a BMI greater than 30.

A new real-time approach to weight management

Reitano said it shouldn’t be a scenario involving diabetes management and weight loss and that will change over the next decade.

“If we looked at obesity as a disease and we’re both focused on preventing it, but once it moves to treating it and treating it as a disease, I think we’re going to see a completely different approach,” he said.

Reitano said the weight loss and obesity management program fits with his company’s broader goal of changing the way patients receive medical care and achieve health goals, from doctor visits to the pharmacy and ongoing management of health issues.

“High-quality obesity care is an important part,” he told Cramer. “Patients can’t just get these drugs and leave them at their fingertips.”

In addition to sending 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 smartphone-connected smart scale that is also sent to the patient that tracks weight and sends data to an app so medical professionals can adjust drug doses to ensure the patient receives the right dose to achieve the weight loss results they have. to want. Patients also receive one-on-one coaching with nurses for a year and up to 24 telehealth visits with a physician.

“The speed at which we can communicate with patients, update their plans and really be there for them and guide them through that experience, and have that serve as a very strong compliment to their overall primary care, is a of the things I think I’m really excited about,” Reitano said in a recent phone interview with CNBC.

The price of these drugs is an issue, however, with Wegovy costing up to $1,700 a month without insurance. Reitano said Ro helps guide people through the insurance process and get these drugs at the lowest price, but acknowledged in his “Mad Money” interview that pricing in this pharmaceutical niche “can be a challenge for to patients”.

The Ro Body program is the latest addition to Ro’s healthcare offerings. The company, which ranked No. 1. 38 on the 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, began selling men’s health products, helping to treat issues like erectile dysfunction and hair loss, and has since has expanded to offer multiple in-home services, including pharmaceutical and fertility treatments.

CNBC is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Disruptor 50 list, our eleventh 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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