Growing number of doctors prescribing 'Diet Shot'

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A growing number of doctors are prescribing injections, known as the “diet shot,” that help people lose weight.

The medication makes you feel fuller, longer and weight-loss patients also experience health benefits such as lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and better diabetes control.

“This is a lifelong change because obesity is a chronic disease,” said Dr. Ian Yip, an endocrinologist.

Yip has treated thousands for obesity.

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Over and over he’s helped them lose weight, and then he says it’s not uncommon for them to gain it back.

Two years ago he started prescribing the first FDA approved weight-loss injection.

Saxenda is a hormone based on one our own intestines make.

“It binds to receptors in the brain that tell us you are full,” said Yip.

Our natural hormone starts dissipating within minutes of a meal with this injection. The “feel-full” hormone lasts for hours instead of minutes so even on a strict diet, Yip says you “feel satisfied the whole day.”

The shot isn’t for everyone as some patients complain Saxenda has made them nauseous.

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Other have complained about the price. It’s about $1,000 a month and not all insurance plans cover it.

The important thing says Yip, if one therapy isn’t for you, ask your doctor to try something new.

“There’s a lot of advantage of losing just 10 percent of your body weight,” said Yip.

The drug was first approved to treat diabetes. Doctors prescribing it say the average weight loss is 5 to 10 percent of body weight, but they caution it can cause serious side effects and is only certain for obese patients.