Health startup Noom is now adding weight loss injections to its offering, saying ‘the results are fantastic’

Noom Inc., a startup that for years has been in the business of weight loss, is now ready to add medicine to the equation.

After last year’s pilot, the company is launching its Noom Med line that will include obesity drugs like Novo Nordisk A/S’s Wegovy for about $120 a month. It’s the latest weight loss company to join the ranks of lifestyle-focused companies using high-priced GLP-1 drugs to help customers lose weight.

Noom is part of a group of companies looking to capitalize on drugs that help people feel fuller and eat less with fewer side effects. Patients who have taken a lot of Mounjaro, diabetes medicine from Eli Lilly & Co. which is being tested as a treatment for obesity, lost about 50 pounds. Many one-time dieters find the results to be more reliable and easier to achieve than routine modification programs.

With the new group of drugs, “the weight loss results are even better, and we listen to our users, our patients,” said Linda Anegawa, Noom’s chief product officer. “Patients are asking, ‘How can Noom help us?'”

Traditionally, the weight loss industry has promoted practices such as calorie-restricted diets and exercise over the original drugs that were often heavily weighted with them. security anxiety or low performance. Now players like Noom are seeing an opening to provide advice and guidance on diet, behavior change and exercise.

Anti-obesity drugs will “undoubtedly change this pattern of weight loss,” Anegawa said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio. “But for the millions of Americans who take these drugs, lasting success is impossible without an anchor in behavioral change.”

Noom Med will initially be available in 32 states, including New York, Texas and California, with plans to expand. Along with GLP-1s – Novo’s Wegovy, Saxenda and Ozempic and Lilly’s Mounjaro – the program will offer low-cost, ineffective drugs like Currax Pharmaceuticals LLC’s Contrave, which suppresses appetite, and metformin, a diabetes drug also used for weight loss.

Since 2016, Noom has offered the program “with the help of psychology” to help clients lose weight. The move to telemedicine is at odds with many other services, including a well-known rival: WW International Inc. – also known as WeightWatchers – whose shares rose in mid-April after that. found telehealth obesity-drug provider Sequence. Some competitors include the basics Change it, an early leader in space, and Ro. Shares of WW International fell as much as 3.9% on Wednesday.

The increasing number of companies raises concerns about drug monitoring that have already started with other drug delivery services. ADHD and erectile dysfunction. Medical supervision is important because side effects such as nausea and diarrhea are common when using GLP-1, and the drug is associated with unusual risks such as pancreatitis. Patients with obesity often require specialized medical care that telehealth companies are not equipped to provide.

Although many companies are writing prescriptions for weight loss, finding GLP-1 drugs remains a challenge for patients. Telemedicine platforms can cost $100 to $140 per month, and often do not include the cost of medication. The need for insurance is lessThe legacy of obesity is seen as a cosmetic issue, and without it, out-of-pocket costs can exceed $1,000 a month.

Weight-loss customers meet Noom’s agents during an initial video tour, with subsequent interactions via text-based chat and access to additional videos. Noom said it will continue to combine medical methods with its behavioral program, Noom Weight, and believes the method is essential for lasting, healthy changes.

“I can throw you Wegovy all over the world, but if you don’t have a good lifestyle plan,” people can get fat, said Anegawa. “No one believes me, but they do.”

GLP-1 drugs are considered the next best-selling drugs, potentially revolutionizing care in the same way that cholesterol-lowering statins did for patients at high risk of heart disease more than 30 years ago. Marketing potential is driving drugmakers like Novo and Lilly to the top of the US and European markets. Investors are also looking Pfizer A trial of danuglipron after a central study produced positive results.

About 130 million American adults are eligible for treatment with the drugs below instructions especially when it comes to a person’s weight. For example, a 5-foot, 9-inch person who weighs 210 pounds may be fit based on body mass index alone, a measurement based on height and weight that is used as a proxy for body fat.

Users who register with Noom and qualify for prescriptions are now given access to the new program. Noom’s doctors will follow up on that and take other factors into consideration, including clinical conditions and lab test results, Anegawa said. They can also work with patients to manage side effects of the medication such as nausea and inflammation, he said.

The company wants to rely more on GLP-1 drugs that have been approved especially for obesity such as Wegovy, he said; insurers don’t want to cover diabetes medications like Ozempic that haven’t been cleared for weight loss.

“The cat’s out of the bag there,” he said. “Payers don’t allow it anymore.”

Changes in obesity treatment could lead to an increase in Noom, he said.

“Right now we are not marketing ourselves as a treatment for diabetes or hypertension,” he said. “But is that what we hope for in the future of this program? It’s definitely possible.”

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