Weight Loss Medications

Explore medication uses, weight loss effects, side effects by dose, administration, contraindications, and typical results.

See here for a comparison of the different medications.

Get your prescription online here.

How Does it Work?

What is the process like to start a weight loss medication?
  1. Select our 'Weight Loss Start' panel.

  2. Check out if you meet our qualifying criteria.

  3. Complete a brief intake form and select your preferred medication.

  4. Complete a messaging consultation (< 3 minutes) to obtain a requisition for bloodwork.

  5. Once we have your bloodwork, you're invited for a follow-up messaging chat.

  6. The doctor will review any questions, and side effects and issue a 3-month prescription.

How long does the whole process take?
  1. You can request a same-day messaging consultation for your bloodwork.

  2. You can visit the lab immediately after your consultation, and bloodwork is uploaded typically within 24 hours.

What do I need to qualify for a weight loss prescription?

The requirements to obtain a weight loss prescription are very straightforward.

You qualify if:

  1. Your BMI > 30

  2. If you have a BMI > 27 and one of the following obesity-related health conditions:

    1. High Blood Pressure

    2. High Cholesterol

    3. Diabetes

    4. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

    5. Sleep Apnea

    6. Fatty Liver Disease

How can I share my Body Mass Index (BMI) with TeleTest?

You can obtain your BMI any of the following ways:

  1. As your doctor for a copy of your most recent height/weight.

  2. Visit a PC Health Station and obtain your weight.

  3. Provide a photo of your driver's license or government document that lists your height.

At the time of your messaging consultation, you can upload a photo of your height and weight measurements.

Does TeleTest ship prescriptions?
  1. We do not ship prescriptions directly to your home. but you can select a pharmacy that delivers to your home.

  1. Your prescription is sent to your preferred pharmacy address. If you don't have one, you can use our pharmacy finder to find one close to your home.

Which pharmacies delivery to my home?

We can send your prescription to any pharmacy to deliver your prescription. We've included a few options for online pharmacies, but you do not need to use these providers. Importantly, most local pharmacies offer a delivery program.

  1. Pocket Pills

  2. Pillway

  3. Pharmex

  4. Telus Virtual Pharmacy

  5. Mednow

  6. Well.ca

What pharmacies do you support?

You can use any local pharmacy or online pharmacy to obtain your prescription. For example, you can select a local Costco, Pharmasave, Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM), or Rexall.

I have an existing prescription from another provider. Can TeleTest renew it?

Yes, TeleTest can renew existing prescriptions obtained from other providers. During your chat, you'll be required to upload a photo of any of the following as proof:

  • A pharmacy receipt

  • Prescription box with your health details

  • Digital copy of your prescription

  • Photocopy of a prior prescription

Do you treat American patients interested in Weight Loss Medication?

Yes, we treat international patients, including those from the United States, and can prescribe weight loss medications. However, it is required that you are physically located within the province of Ontario at the time of your consultation. This means that you cannot be in the United States or any other location outside Ontario when your messaging chat with the doctor occurs.

Medication Costs

Does OHIP cover medication costs?

OHIP does not cover the cost of medication for weight loss at this time.

How much do weight loss medications cost?

Rybelsus (3, 7, 14mg)

  • Monthly Cost: $245 - $275

  • Annual Cost: $3000-$3300

Ozempic

  • Monthly Cost: $230 - $260

  • Annual Cost: $3000-$3300

Who offers the lowest prices on weight loss medication?

As of mid-2024, a price comparison of Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall and Costco finds that Costco has the lowest dispensing fees and medication cost.

Will my insurance plan cover the cost of medication?

The coverage for weight loss medications can vary significantly between different insurance plans. Here are some steps you can take to find out if your specific plan covers these medications:

  1. Review Your Insurance Policy: Start by looking at the details of your health insurance policy. Most insurers provide a list of covered medications, also known as a formulary, which you can often find on their website or by calling customer service.

  2. Contact Your Insurance Provider: To get the most accurate information, call your insurance provider directly. Ask them about coverage for the specific weight loss medication you are considering, such as semaglutide, tirzepatide, or liraglutide. Be sure to inquire about any conditions or criteria that must be met for coverage.

Are some weight loss medications more likely to be covered by insurance?

Some insurance plans have specific rules about what medications they will cover based on the conditions for which the drugs were originally approved by regulatory agencies, such as Health Canada.

Here's a breakdown of what that means:

On-label vs. Off-label Use

  • On-label use refers to the use of a medication for conditions for which it was specifically approved. These are the uses that have been thoroughly reviewed and approved by regulatory bodies after clinical trials demonstrate the drug's safety and effectiveness for those conditions.

    • Saxenda (Liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) are both officially approved for weight loss

  • Off-label use involves prescribing medications for conditions other than those for which it was originally approved. This practice is legal and common, often based on emerging research or clinical experience suggesting the medication's effectiveness for other conditions. However, insurance companies may not always cover off-label uses because these uses lack formal regulatory approval.

    • Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) are not officially approved for weight loss, but are approved for diabetes

Some insurance providers will only reimburse or cover the cost of the medication if you meet the 'on-label' prescribing criteria.

This means you may require a diagnosis of diabetes to qualify for Ozempic, or a diagnosis of obesity to qualify for Wegovy.

Aren't Ozempic and Wegovy the same medication?

Yes, both contain the same medicine - Semaglutide. Ozempic was originally approved for diabetes management, and Wegovy was later originally approved for weight loss.

Ozempic and Wegovy are dosed differently to optimize their effectiveness for their respective indications. Ozempic is used at lower doses primarily for the control of blood sugar levels in diabetes, whereas Wegovy is used at higher doses to promote weight loss.

Is Wegovy available at this time?

Wegovy is not yet available but will be by mid-2024.

Effectiveness

How effective is each medication? Will it work for me?

Each medication we offer, such as semaglutide, tirzepatide, and liraglutide, has been clinically proven to be effective for weight loss in many individuals. However, the effectiveness can vary based on your specific health conditions, lifestyle, and adherence to the treatment plan.

Here's a summary of the typical outcomes observed in clinical studies:

  • Ozempic: Primarily used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, Ozempic can also lead to weight loss as a secondary benefit. Users may experience an average weight loss of about 5-10% of body weight over 68 weeks, with some cases showing up to approximately 12% weight loss, especially when combined with lifestyle modifications.

    • If you weigh 200 lbs, you can expect to lose up to 10 lbs, up to 25 lbs.

  • Wegovy: Specifically approved for weight management, Wegovy shows a higher average weight loss due to its higher dosages of semaglutide and its direct targeting of obesity. Clinical studies have indicated that individuals using Wegovy can expect an average weight loss of 10-15% of their body weight, with maximum weight loss in some cases around 17-18%.

    • If you weigh 200 lbs, you can expect to lose up to 20 lbs, up to 30 lbs.

  • Rybelsus: As the oral form of semaglutide, Rybelsus is used mainly for managing type 2 diabetes but also shows benefits in weight loss. The weight loss with Rybelsus tends to be slightly less than that observed with injectable forms like Ozempic, averaging around 3-7% of body weight over a similar period.

    • If you weigh 200 lbs, you can expect to lose up to 10 lbs, up to 15 lbs.

  • Tirzepatide: Clinical trials indicate that tirzepatide can lead to an average weight loss of approximately 15-20% of body weight over a similar period. Some participants experienced a maximum weight loss of up to 21%.

    • If you weigh 200 lbs, you can expect to lose up to 30 lbs, up to 40lbs.

  • Liraglutide: On average, liraglutide has been associated with weight loss of about 5-10% of body weight over a year, with maximum weight reductions reaching approximately 12% in certain individuals.

    • If you weigh 200 lbs, you can expect to lose up to 10 lbs, up to 20lbs.

These numbers are approximations from clinical studies and do not guarantee the degree of your weight loss you will experience on medication.

Follow Up

Does TeleTest offer a monthly check-in?

No, TeleTest does not offer a monthly check-in service. If you need further assistance related to a medication side effect or have questions about your treatment or medications, you can request a new consultation with our healthcare team.

Obesity

What is obesity?

Obesity is a health condition where a person has an excess amount of body fat, which poses risks to their health. It's more than being just overweight; it affects how the body functions and increases the risk of various health problems.

How is obesity diagnosed?

Obesity is typically diagnosed using the Body Mass Index (BMI), which calculates body fat based on a person's weight and height. A BMI of 30 or higher is classified as obese.

What are the main causes of obesity?

The causes of obesity are varied and include genetics, dietary habits, physical inactivity, and certain medical conditions. Lifestyle choices such as consuming high-calorie foods and not engaging in enough physical activity are significant contributors.

Why is managing obesity important?

Managing obesity is crucial because it helps reduce the risk of various health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. It also improves overall quality of life, including better mobility, mood, and self-esteem.

What are the common risks associated with obesity?

Common risks include cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, hypertension, and respiratory problems like sleep apnea, as well as mental health issues such as depression.

Does obesity cause cancer?

According to current research, including statistics from organizations like the American Cancer Society and the World Health Organization, obesity is associated with an increased risk of several specific types of cancer. This link is believed to be due to the effects of high amounts of body fat on inflammation, hormone levels, and cell growth.

  1. Breast Cancer: Postmenopausal women who are obese have a 20-40% higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to those with a normal weight. The risk increases due to higher estrogen levels produced by fat tissue.

  2. Colorectal Cancer: There is about a 30% increased risk of colorectal cancer for those who are obese compared to those of normal weight. The risk is higher in men than in women.

  3. Endometrial Cancer: Obese women are about two to four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women of normal weight, especially if the obesity occurs after menopause.

  4. Esophageal Adenocarcinoma: Obesity increases the risk of esophageal cancer, particularly adenocarcinoma, which has been linked to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which is more common in obese individuals.

  5. Pancreatic Cancer: Each 5-unit increase in BMI is associated with about a 10% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer.

  6. Kidney Cancer: Obesity could be linked to as much as 40% of kidney cancers. The risk of renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer, is higher in obese individuals.

Can obesity be treated with medication alone?

Medication can be part of an obesity treatment plan but is most effective when combined with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Medications help manage symptoms or weight directly but do not replace the need for a healthier lifestyle.

Follow-Ups

I'm experiencing a side effect or would like to discuss a dose change. What should I do?

If you're experiencing a side effect from a GLP-1 prescription or require advice about your medication regimen, and are not experiencing a medical emergency, you have few options:

  • You can request a consultation with the doctor via our 'Weight Loss Renewal' panel, complete the intake form and arrange a time to speak with the doctor and review your side effects or desired dose changes.

  • You can speak to your dispensing pharmacist to obtain guidance about next steps.

  • You can reach out to a local walk-in clinic for guidance about managing side effects and advice on dose changes.

TeleTest physicians provide episodic care, similar to what you would experience at your local walk-in clinic. Our service does not mandate monthly follow-ups as some weight loss providers do, to permit you to have a cheaper 'a-la-carte' experience. You can access our physicians via our 'Weight Loss Renewal' panel for a conversation about medication changes or guidance about side effects after your initial consultation is complete.

Please note that you can request a 'Weight Loss Renewal' panel as frequently as you wish, and some of our patients request monthly check-ins.

References

A Large Cohort Study of Body Mass Index and Pancreatic Cancer by Smoking Status Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2020) 29 (12): 2680–2685.

Sanfilippo KM, McTigue KM, Fidler CJ, et al. Hypertension and obesity and the risk of kidney cancer in 2 large cohorts of US men and women. Hypertension 2014; 63(5):934–941.

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