Our bodies use complex systems to control appetite, desire for food and body weight. The medications we use for weight loss attack different aspects of those systems. The BeLite Medical Center staff prescribes several proven effective specialty medications to help patients lose weight. These medications include the GLP-1 agonists, semaglutide [Ozempic, Wegovy] and liraglutide [Victoza, Saxenda]. Other specialty medications are typically filled at our on-site compounding pharmacy, include:
- Phendimetrazine or Diethylpropion
- 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), Carbidopa
Most patients are prescribed phentermine, phendimetrazine or diethylpropion, medications that work in the brain to increase norepinephrine production in the hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens, thereby decreasing hunger and stopping food cravings.
These medications are typically prescribed in conjunction with 5-HTP/carbidopa (see below).
Many patients are successfully treated with the natural substance, 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is abbreviated 5-HTP. All the serotonin in the body is made from 5-HTP and we therefore already have this natural substance in our bodies. 5-HTP is also an over-the-counter product and has been available for many years.
The goal of treatment is to take a little bit more of what we already have in order to increase brain serotonin. When taken orally, though, 5-HTP is rapidly broken down in the gastrointestinal tract and blood. To prevent this breakdown process, we prescribe special 5-HTP capsules with a prescription medication, carbidopa, which prevents the breakdown process. We prescribe pharmaceutical grade 5-HTP which has no trace contaminants.
We also provide patients with a multivitamin tablet to ensure that proper nutrition is maintained, even when food intake decreases. Other medications may be prescribed, as needed.
The combined use of phentermine and 5-HTP for weight loss is the subject of a paper published in 2010 by Dr. Rothman, our Medical Director.
A published survey given to the physician members of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) in 2009, found that 20% used 5-HTP/carbidopa in their practice.
Click for an abstract of the survey results on the use of medications for treatment of obesity.
Injectable medications have been around for quite some time, but they have only recently begun to be used for weight loss. One of the most popular injectable medication on the market today is semaglutide, marketed by Novo Nordisk as Ozempic and Wegovy. Semaglutide is a member of the GLP-1 [glucagon-like peptide-1] medications. Another medication of the same class is liraglutide [Victoza, Saxenda]. Mounjaro [tirzepatide] is a similar medication. Semaglutide is taken by injection once per week. The exact mechanism by which it promotes weight loss is not 100% known, but it appears to slow the transit of food through the stomach, decrease hunger, and increase satiety. Clinical studies, such as one published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that semaglutide can produce clinically relevant weight loss, safely (N Engl J Med 2021; 384:989-100). Significant weight loss in the range of up 10% or more of initial body weight can be achieved. Semaglutide is not a stimulant. It works by a different mechanism than phentermine and 5-HTP. Thus, we use this medication at BELITE both for patients who can’t tolerate stimulants, and for patients whose weight loss with our standard medications has plateaued.
Contact us at BeLite Medical Center about whether the semaglutide [Ozempic or Wegovy] or liraglutide [Victoza, Saxenda] weight loss injections are right for you.
After 24+ years, we know first hand that losing weight can be a challenging process, requiring some often difficult lifestyle changes. Many of our clients come to BeLite having tried many different programs without seeing long-term, lasting results. Contact us for your free consultation, weight loss assessment and to meet our friendly and professional staff.
Returning patients pay a $115.00 visit fee plus medication, which includes blood pressure monitoring by a physician or a licensed nurse practitioner, personalized medical treatment, discussion of progress and/or impediments to progress, medical issues, and prescription of appropriate weight loss medications. Patients enrolled in our maintenance program pay a $85 visit fee.
New patients pay $230.00 for an initial 90 minute initial consultation, 3-lead EKG and medical interpretation, mini-clothes on physical, nutrition counseling, blood pressure monitoring and personalized medical treatment. Most patients have two visits in the first four weeks, and this is included in the $230.00 fee.
Notice About Dispensing Prescription Medications On-Site:
For the convenience of patients, the BE-LITE Pharmacy of Fairfax, located on-site, is a compounding pharmacy that can provide many of the medications prescribed by the medical practitioner. Most patients find that this saves them the time and inconvenience of an additional trip to their local pharmacy. In order to get some of the medications, such as 5-HTP and carbidopa, patients may need to visit a compounding pharmacy.
If asked, the medical practitioner will gladly provide patients with prescriptions that can be filled at the local pharmacy of their choice.