Livingston obesity specialist talks weight loss drugs

LIVINGSTON COUNTY — It seems everyone is talking about magical weight-loss medications these days.

As social media takes hold, local obesity specialist Dr. Rebecca Pawlik is encouraging patients aiming to lose weight to have a conversation with their doctor.

Pawlik is co-director at Trinity Health IHA Medical Group in Genoa. Pawlik is also board-certified in Family Medicine and Obesity Medicine. 

“(Their physician) will talk about where their weight is now, what a reasonable goal might be for weight loss, and in what period of time it would be reasonable to expect changes,” Pawlik told The Daily. 

Pawlik noted there are several injectable weight loss medications that work well, including Wegovy, Saxenda and Zepbound. They originated as diabetic medications, but have been approved for weight loss by the FDA. Other prescription medications approved by the FDA for weight loss include Adipex, Qsymia and Contrave.

Pawlik said each type of medication has advantages and disadvantages, and individual physicians can help determine which might work best.

Pawlik described obesity as a “chronic disease” that can lead to medical issues. People often gain weight back once they stop using weight loss medications.

“The population of our country with obesity is, unfortunately, continuing to increase,” she said. “This problem is not going away. We really hope that with better medication management options we can fight obesity and, more importantly, fight the chronic problems that come from chronic obesity for our patients — such as heart attacks, strokes and increased risk of cancers.” 

There are four “pillars” to consider when it comes to obesity management, Pawlik said, including behavioral changes, nutritional changes, physical activity and medication. Surgery is also a possibility.

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“Most people know what we need to do, but there’s probably something they could do to … see better results,” she said. 

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— Contact reporter Evan Sasiela at Follow him on Twitter @SalsaEvan.

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