Health startup Noom is now adding weight loss injections to its products, says ‘the results are so much better’

Noom Inc., a startup that for many years touted the psychological path to weight loss, is now ready to add the drug to the equation.

After testing it out last year, the company is launching a Noom Med option that will include prescriptions for obesity like Novo Nordisk A/S’s Wegovy for about $120 a month. It is the latest weight loss company to join an effort to push the industry into a lifestyle-focused use of expensive, highly effective GLP-1 slimming pills to help clients lose weight.

Noom is one of the areas where companies aim to capitalize on drugs that help people feel fuller and eat less with relatively few side effects. Patients taking the highest dose of Mounjaro, a diabetes drug made by Eli Lilly & Co. being tested as a treatment for obesity, has lost an average of 50 pounds. Many one-time dieters find those results more reliable and easier to achieve than traditional habit-changing programs.

With the new drug, “weight loss results are much better and we listen to our users, our patients,” said Linda Anegawa, medical director of Noom. “Patients are asking, ‘How can Noom help us more?’”

Traditionally, the weight loss industry has favored behavioral interventions such as reduced-calorie diets and exercise programs over drugs that have traditionally burdened health. safety concern or modest effect. Now, players like Noom see an opportunity to provide prescriptions along with guidance on diet, behavior modification, and exercise.

Anegawa said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio that anti-obesity drugs “unquestionably revolutionized this landscape for sustainable weight loss. “But for the millions of Americans who are taking these drugs, long-term success really can’t be achieved often without that behavior change.”

Noom Med will initially be available in 32 states, including New York, Texas and California, with further expansion planned. Along with GLP-1 – Novo’s Wegovy, Saxenda and Ozempic and Lilly’s Mounjaro – the program will offer cheaper, less effective drugs like Currax Pharmaceuticals LLC’s Contrave, which helps reduce cravings, and metformin, a drug Common diabetes treatments are also used for weight loss.

Since 2016, Noom has offered an app “supported by psychology” to help clients lose weight. The move into telemedicine puts it in competition with a host of other services, including a familiar competitor: WW International Inc. – also known as WeightWatchers – whose stock skyrocketed in mid-April after it buy telehealth obesity-drug Sequence provider. Other competitors include startups correction, an original leader in space and Ro. Shares of WW International fell as much as 3.9% on Wednesday.

The rise of companies raises concerns about prescription surveillance that have arisen earlier with some drug delivery services. attention deficit hyperactivity And erectile dysfunction. Medical supervision is important because side effects such as nausea and diarrhea commonly occur with the use of GLP-1 and these drugs are associated with rare risks such as pancreatitis. Obese patients often need care for other medical conditions that telehealth companies aren’t set up to provide.

While dozens of companies are writing prescriptions for weight loss pills, obtaining the GLP-1 drug remains a challenge for patients. Telemedicine platforms can cost around $100 to $140 a month and usually don’t include drug costs. Coverage is limitThe sequelae of obesity are considered a cosmetic problem, and without this problem, the patient’s out-of-pocket costs can be in excess of $1,000 monthly.

Diet pill customers will meet Noom providers on their first video visit, followed by communication through text-based chats and optionally additional follow-up video visits . Noom said it will continue to combine medical interventions with its behavior program, Noom Weight, and believes the approach is necessary for healthy, lasting change.

“I could throw all of Wegovy at you in the world, but if you don’t have a comprehensive lifestyle program in place,” people can still gain weight, Anegawa says. “No one believes me, but they absolutely can.”

The drug GLP-1 is billed as the next best-selling chronic disease treatment, with the potential to change care in the same way that cholesterol-lowering statins have put patients at a 30-year higher risk of heart disease. before. The commercial potential is driving drugmakers like Novo and Lilly to lead the US and European markets. Investors are also eyeing Pfizer Inc.’s experimental danuglipron. after mid-term studies yielded positive results.

Approximately 130 million American adults are eligible for treatment with drugs under the instruct largely based on a person’s weight. For example, a 5-foot-9-inch man weighing 210 pounds would qualify based on body mass index alone, a measure based on height and weight used as a proxy for body fat. .

Users who sign up for Noom and are eligible for the drug will now be given the option to join the new program. Anegawa said Noom clinicians will follow those criteria and consider other factors, including underlying medical conditions and lab test results. They can also work with patients to manage common medication side effects like nausea and bloating, she says.

She said the company will aim to rely more heavily on GLP-1 drugs that have been specifically approved for obesity such as Wegovy; Insurance companies are reluctant to cover diabetes drugs like Ozempic that haven’t been proven to help with weight loss.

She said: “The cat was out of the bag about that. “The payers really don’t allow it anymore.”

The switch to drug treatment for obesity could lead to further expansion at Noom, she said.

“At this time, we are not specifically marketing ourselves as a treatment for diabetes or a treatment for hypertension,” she said. “But is that what we are looking for for future iterations of this show? Entirely possible.”


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