NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There may finally be a breakthrough for the millions of people who have struggled with weight loss.
It’s an easy-to-use injection to help shed those pesky pounds, and some have found it’s the diet shot that’s made the difference.
Marisa Levy says the biggest thing for her new normal is getting on an airplane and having space on either side of her.
“I’ve had issues with weight my whole life,” she told CBS2.
This time, she says, it’s different. She’s lost 130 pounds in the last year and a half using Saxenda, the first FDA approved injectable treatment for weight loss.
“I felt like my entire life was driven by constant hunger and now I’m never at that point,” Levy said.
Patients give themselves a shot once a day from a device similar to an insulin pen.
“The medication particularly helps control your appetite,” Robert Hold, Physician Assistant with NYU Langone Weight Management, said. “It helps to increase satiability, so that really can help a patient when they don’t have the willpower.”
Hold says patients also need to make lifestyle changes to see results, but the physical feeling from the medication makes it easier.
“The physiological standpoint is that it delays gastric emptying,” he said. “The food is staying in your stomach for an extended period of time so you’re going to feel fuller quicker and you’re going to stay fuller longer.”
Hold adds that it’s generally safe for patients with heart conditions and high blood pressure, but not those with a history of thyroid cancer.
There are other side effects as well.
“Certainly nausea is the most common of those side effects, and that happens in about 30 percent of those cases,” Hold said.
Michelle Gennari lost about 100 pounds after bariatric surgery 17 years ago, but she recently used Saxenda to lose the weight that had crept back on.
“Menopause reared its ugly head and I started gaining weight,” she said.
Gennari says it helped her self-control, and she saw results right away. Since then she’s lost 20 pounds.
“Sometimes when I go to eat something, it will be ‘Oh, I don’t want that’,” she said.
One possible drawback? The cost. Without insurance the injections can run $1,000 a month. It is, however, covered by some insurance carriers and the manufacturer has been offering patient incentives as well to help mitigate the cost.