This piece was written by Vidya Raman-Tangella, Chief Medical Officer at Teladoc Health, and originally published on LinkedIn.
Last month, we shared exciting news about the expansion of provider-based care within our Chronic Condition Management programs.
With these updates, we’ve increased our ability to optimize medications, including glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists, for individuals facing prediabetes and obesity. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about GLP-1s, so I wanted to take a moment to share a bit more about our approach to these medications.
At Teladoc Health, we have significant experience helping people manage diabetes and obesity. We know what it takes to deliver better health outcomes. What we’ve found, time and time again, is that we earn trust from our members and clients by using a care model that’s relationship-based, provider-led and longitudinal at its core.
These popular GLP-1 medications are game-changers for many individuals, offering encouraging results for those who are clinically qualified to receive them.
Mimicking the action of a hormone called Glucagon-like peptide 1, GLP-1 drugs stimulate the body to produce more insulin in response to food and in turn lower blood sugar levels. The drugs also curb hunger, making many feel full faster and longer, promoting weight loss. Some drugs in these groups lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, and many individuals with hypertension have seen a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol on these medications.
But without the proper counseling and provider oversight, people may start taking GLP-1s without knowing the full extent of the side effects or, quite frankly, knowing that these medications may lead to temporary results when not used as part of a broader clinical program.
Lack of sustainable outcomes isn’t the only side effect of improper prescribing. As treatments like these are more widely available to consumers, it is critical that drug costs are transparent. Are consumers clear on which drugs are covered and which have higher out-of-pocket costs? Are the physicians prescribing these medications able to provide consumers with clear information? New solutions are irrelevant if consumers can’t, in fact, afford them. Additionally, given limited supply, it’s even more important now that we ensure that those most in need receive and have access to these new therapies first.
There is no doubt that GLP-1s can be a critical tool in the management of cardiometabolic disease, but they work best as an addition to altering long-term habits that address nutrition, activity, sleep and stress management. A single, integrated care experience is even more necessary, with more than 40% of adults in the U.S. now living with two or more chronic conditions. The value and benefit of this experience continues to be validated by our peer-reviewed studies.
The promise and potential for innovative new medications in treating cardiometabolic disease is profound. Those prescribing—and deprescribing—GLP-1s need to do so in the right way. That includes assisting and guiding consumers through every step of their healthcare journey, from ongoing condition management and monitoring to price transparency, and empowering them to make core lifestyle changes.
Vidya Raman-Tangella, Chief Medical Officer at Teladoc Health
Originally published May 17, 2023. Revised November 10, 2023
GLP-1 medications for weight loss at Teladoc Health
Some Teladoc Health care providers can prescribe GLP-1 medications when clinically appropriate and permitted by state regulations. You must be an established Primary360 member or a Condition Management member enrolled in condition care. GLP-1 medications (including refills) are not available through Teladoc Health General Medical or Nutrition.
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