Is there a “quick fix” for weight loss?

weight loss medicineLong-time dieters frequently hear that there’s no “magic pill” when it comes to weight loss. But recent studies show doctors don’t always follow that advice. In fact, about 25 percent of doctors said they have prescribed weight loss medicine to obese patients — even though the doctors themselves admit those patients only reach their goals about half the time.

One interesting thing to note about this study is how scarcely obesity surgery was recommended. For patients who need to lose more than 100 pounds, pills designed to help you lose 10 percent of your weight simply won’t cut it.

The doctors and bariatric surgeons surveyed also used treatments like diet modification, exercise plans or behavioral therapy, but again said these options rarely meet the patients’ weight loss goals.

“My takeaway from this study,” says Dr. Dirk, “is that many family practice doctors, primary care physicians  and even weight loss specialists do not fully understand obesity as a medical condition and do not understand how prescription medications are different from weight loss surgery.”

One thing both options have in common is the reluctance of insurance companies to get on board. The medicines are rarely covered by health plans, and getting approval for obesity surgery can involve months or even years of back and forth between doctors, insurance companies, patients and specialists. All the time spent fighting is more time spent not being healthy, a problem that can have a huge negative impact on your life in the long term.

When patients are considering their options, the thought of the red tape and headaches is often enough to steer them away. But Dr. Dirk says that shouldn’t deter anyone who is in need of the life-changing effects bariatric surgery can offer.

The surgery is a kick-start to a healthier life — one that can help you lose 100 pounds or more and help relieve and prevent problems like diabetes and hypertension.

“Don’t let your doctor or insurance company keep you from the treatment you deserve,” Dr. Dirk says. “If you need obesity surgery, my staff and I can help you get there.”