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Prescription Weight Loss Medications

Many of our patients from the Huntsville, Alabama area benefit from prescription weight loss medications as part of a comprehensive weight loss strategy.

Prescription weight loss medications can help people lose more weight than exercise and diet alone, and are most effective when combined with healthy lifestyle changes.1 Medical weight loss is also an option for those who wish to lose weight before surgery, lose more weight after surgery, or those for whom surgery is not an option. Our team works with each patient to determine the best treatment plan to help them achieve and maintain successful weight loss.

How Do Prescription Weight Loss Drugs Work?

Prescription weight loss drugs work in a variety of ways. Some work on hunger hormones, helping patients feel fuller after eating less food and allowing them to feel satisfied for longer. Weight loss medications can also act as appetite suppressants, reduce cravings, and/or block the absorption of dietary fat.

Because each weight loss medication works slightly differently in the body, it is important to work closely with a physician who can prescribe the right medication for your unique needs.

How Weight Loss Medications Impact Diabetes

Weight loss drugs can have a positive impact on diabetes by helping to control blood sugar levels. Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, so losing weight can reduce the risk of developing the disease. Here are some ways weight loss drugs can impact diabetes:

  • Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Weight loss can improve insulin sensitivity, which can help to control blood sugar levels.
  • Reduced Risk of Complications: Losing weight can reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
  • Lowered Medication Dosages: Losing weight can sometimes reduce the amount of medication needed to control diabetes.2


Adipex® (phentermine) is an FDA-approved medication designed to suppress appetite. Adipex is used for a short period of time as part of a weight reduction treatment plan which includes exercise, behavioral changes, and a low-calorie diet. While there are BMI guidelines for Adipex, Dr. Doucette prescribes this weight loss medication on a case-by-case basis.


Qsymia® (phentermine/topiramate) is the only FDA-approved once daily weight loss medication. Qsymia contains two weight loss medications, phentermine and topiramate, in an extended-release capsule. It is designed to help overweight adults and patients that suffer from obesity lose weight as part of a diet and exercise program.

In a clinical trial, participants who took Qsymia lost an average of approximately 10% of their body weight (about 24 lbs) and a 4 inch waist size reduction after 1 year. Participants with a BMI over 30 who took Qsymia® lost 4 times more weight than diet and exercise alone.3


Contrave is an FDA-approved weight loss medication that is a combination of bupropion and naltrexone. It can help overweight adults lose weight by curbing appetite, and has the best results when used as part of a reduced calorie diet and exercise program.

Across three studies, 46% of patients lost 5% or more of their body weight, after 56 weeks of taking CONTRAVE.4


Wegovy (semaglutide) has a higher dosage of the same active ingredient found in Ozempic. Wegovy is injected at home once a week, and has been shown to help patients achieve long-term weight management when combined with increased physical activity and reduced calorie intake.

In randomized clinical trials, over the course of 68 weeks 33% of patients who took Wegovy lost 20% of their body weight. These patients also showed improved systolic blood pressure and smaller waist circumference when compared to patients given a placebo.5

Wegovy Logo


Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes that also aids in weight loss. It works by mimicking the effects of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which the intestines release after eating. GLP-1 helps control blood sugar levels and reduces appetite by stimulating insulin secretion and lowering glucose production.

Ozempic is injected at home once a week. The recommended starting dose is 0.25 mg once a week, and the dose can be increased gradually to a maximum dose of 2 mg a week. A recent study shows that after taking Ozempic for 68 weeks, the average patient lost 13-14% of their excess body weight, while patients taking a placebo only lost 2-3% of excess body weight.6


Saxenda® (liraglutide) is an FDA-approved, injectable prescription medicine that may help some adults with obesity lose weight and maintain weight loss (together with reduced-calorie diet and physical activity). Saxenda is a higher dose of the drug Victoza, just as Wegovy is a higher dose of Ozempic. Saxenda is injected one time per day by the patient and comes in a pre-filled pen which our staff can teach you how to use prior to your first dose. Patients who use Saxenda are granted access to SaxendaCare™, a free support program to help patients work toward their weight loss goals. SaxendaCare provides coaches to answer questions and help build healthy habits that fit the patient’s lifestyle as well as weekly guidance emails.

In a clinical trial, 64% of people had a greater than or equal to 5% decrease in body weight after one year of treatment compared with 27% of people who received placebo. All of the people in the study were asked to follow a low calorie diet and exercise program.7


Victoza (liraglutide) is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, and it belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It contains the active ingredient liraglutide, which works by mimicking the effects of a hormone called GLP-1. GLP-1 is produced in the gut and stimulates the release of insulin after eating, which helps to lower blood sugar levels. It also slows down the rate at which food leaves the stomach, which can help to reduce appetite.

Victoza is typically taken once a day by injection, and it comes in a prefilled pen device. The pen contains a multi-dose cartridge that can be used for up to 30 days, and the dose can be adjusted based on the individual’s needs. A recent study showed that patients without diabetes who were taking Victoza in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise lost an average of 18.5 pounds.8


Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is another diabetes medication that was recently approved by the FDA to help with weight loss. Mounjaro is a dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeotide (GIP) and GLP-1 receptor agonist. It helps decrease the amount of food patients eat, and it also slows the movement of food through the digestive tract so patients feel fuller for a longer time.

A recent clinical trial concluded that diabetic patients lost an average of 15.7% of their body weight (averaging 34.4 pounds) when taking the highest dose of Mounjaro for 72 weeks.9 A previous clinical trial focusing on obese patients who did not have diabetes showed that patients lost more than 20% of their weight (averaging 52 pounds) after taking Mounjaro.10


Zepbound™ (tirzepatide), is a prescription injectable treatment aimed at assisting adults dealing with obesity or excess weight, particularly those who also suffer from weight-related health issues. To maximize its effectiveness, Zepbound is recommended to be used alongside a lifestyle that includes a diet lower in calories and an increase in physical activities. This approach underscores the importance of integrating Zepbound into a comprehensive health and wellness plan focusing on sustainable weight management strategies.

Zepbound (Tirzepatide)

FAQs About Prescription Weight Loss Medications

What are the side effects of weight loss medications?

Each weight loss drug is associated with specific risks and side effects. Common risks of prescription weight loss drugs include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • High heart rate

Will I need to take weight loss medications forever?

There is no simple fix for obesity as it is a chronic disease. It is not uncommon for patients to regain some or all of the weight they lost when they stop taking a prescription weight loss medication. However, many patients are able to retain their weight loss after taking weight loss drugs through lifestyle changes including a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Are prescription weight loss drugs covered by insurance?

The best way to determine whether your insurance carrier covers weight loss medication is to contact them directly.

Contact Us

If you have questions about weight loss medications, please contact us to schedule a consultation with our prescription weight loss specialist Dr. Doucette in Huntsville, Alabama.

*Results may vary, all patients have to undergo health screenings which take into account age, other prescription medicine use, and health conditions before being prescribed medications.