How much experience do you have seeing patients for weight loss or weight management?
Dr. Theresa Garza, NP Melissa Pham, and their entire staff have been seeing patients for weight management only since 2008 in Plano, Texas. Dr. Garza has been board-certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine since 2012 and board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine since 2005.
Do you accept insurance?
Our telehealth/virtual only program incorporates the newest FDA-approved weekly weight loss injections and does not accept insurance. If you are interested in using your health insurance, contact our Plano office at 972-303-8955 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for insurance inquiries.
Do you do prior authorizations?
No, we do not do prior authorizations for the new weekly weight loss injections in our virtual program.
What medications are prescribed?
Through our virtual program, the prescriber may use a variety of GLP-1s (weight loss injections), including semaglutide, liraglutide, and tirzepatide. These GLP-1s are often referred to by their brand name, so you may have heard of these medications as Wegovy®, Ozempic®, Mounjaro™, or Saxenda®, to name a few.
In our Plano office, if the provider determines you are an appropriate candidate, FDA-approved weight loss medications include but are not limited to phentermine, diethylpropion, phendimetrazine, Qsymia, Contrave, Saxenda, and Wegovy. Other useful tools as wellness adjuncts (lipotropic/B12 injections, HCG, male testosterone therapy, thyroid medication, diuretics) may be considered. We do not manage or prescribe female hormone replacement. We are not primary care physicians (PCPs) and do not manage or treat any other chronic medical conditions besides obesity and overweight. We do not treat or manage hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or sleep apnea. We highly encourage patients to establish and continue visits with their PCPs to manage acute and chronic health conditions.
What is a GLP-1?
Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists are a unique class of drugs with indications to treat both diabetes and obesity. GLP-1 agonists are synthetic (man-made) hormones that resemble and act like GLP-1 which is one of the gut hormones involved in controlling the blood sugar. They work in the following ways:
- They belong to a class of drugs called “incretin mimetics” because these drugs mimic the effects of incretins.
- Incretins are hormones that are produced and released into the blood by the intestine in response fo food.
- GLP-1 is an incretin, one of the gut hormones, involved in controlling blood sugar, mainly acting on the insulin that the body produces after meals.
- GLP-1 is responsible for various functions such as:
- Stimulation of insulin from the pancreas in response to food
- Slowing down the absorption of glucose from the gut
- Reduces gastric emptying
- Inhibits the action of glucagon, a hormone that increase glucose production by the liver
- Reduces appetite and promotes satiety or stomach fullness.
All GLP-1s are clinically-tested, stimulant-free, and non-habit forming. GLP-1s address the underlying biology that is most important for weight loss, and help lower your set point, or the weight your body fights to stay at. GLP-1s are powerful, naturally-occurring hormones made by your gut that send signals to your brain to decrease your appetite, improve your metabolic system, and regulate your digestion so you can feel full longer and maximize nutrient absorption.
What else do you offer?
For comprehensive medical weight loss options other than GLP-1 medications only, go to weightmanagemedical.com/services.
How much does medication cost?
According to GoodRX: here are approximate costs of GLP-1 medications.
- Wegovy $1400/month
- Ozempic $900/month
- Saxenda $1400/month
- Victoza $1100/month
- Rybelsus $900/month
- Mounjaro $1000/month
With our program, we can discuss a compounded GLP-1 that costs as low as $120/month. We can also discuss Mounjaro pricing as low as $25/month, Rybelsus as low as $10/month. We do not perform prior authorizations or review insurance coverage of these medications. You are responsible for these costs.
For weight loss pills, the cost varies from $15/month to $200/month (depending on specific oral medication).
What about diet?
We support high protein, moderate fat eating, and carb conscious eating behaviors for weight management and sustainability.
Any diets under 800-1000 calories per day are considered very low calorie diets (VLCDs). Such programs, such as the HCG diet or Optavia 5/1 plan, under medical supervision can be short-term options and may be discussed.
If you are an on a GLP-1 medication, we recommend high protein, moderate fat, and carb conscious diets (avoid no carb or super low carb diets). On a GLP-1 medication, there is no specific diet we recommend. Some of our patients choose to follow Paleo, Mediterranean, modified-Keto, intermittent fasting, WW, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Optavia. We are not dieticians or nutritionists, and we do not individualize meal plans. We suggest using a dietician or nutritionist, online meal planning program (such as Noom), or commercial weight loss program to learn about nutrition and weight loss if you are a beginner or if you like detailed supervision.
What about exercise?
We want you to attempt to be active for overall general health. However, you are not required to exercise for GLP-1 medications to be effective.
Do you order or require labs?
For our GLP-1 only virtual program, we do not require labs. We support periodic testing such as CBC (blood count), CMP (electrolytes, sugar, liver, kidneys), lipids (cholesterol panel), TSH (thyroid), HbA1C, vitamin D, or other labs as determined by your PCP.
Do you require an EKG?
GLP-1 medication is not a simulant medication. An EKG is not required.
For the virtual program, how will I get receive the injections?
Once enrolled in the program and evaluated by our board certified physician, you will either:
- Have semaglutide (generic Wegovy) delivered with supplies straight to your home or office. Semaglutide costs $180 for the first 3 months, and higher doses range from $120-$180/month.
- Depending on your location, Mounjaro may be prescribed from one of our partner pharmacies or electronically prescribed to your local pharmacy.
What are side effects of GLP-1 medications?
Some of the common side effects include:
- Stomach pain
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
Rare side effects include:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels): sudden sweating, fast heartbeat, blurred vision, tingling in hands/feet
Who cannot use the new weekly weight loss injections?
Patients with a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN-2) or patients with a history of recurrent pancreatitis are not candidates for this category of medication. Your individual medical history will be reviewed to determine if you are a candidate for GLP-1 medications.