By Dr. Rick Tague
For many years now, the State of Kansas has placed a number of restrictions on various weight loss treatments. Since many weight loss medications are controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration, there are both federal and state regulations that must also be followed.
Currently, only authorized physicians with D.E.A. certification may prescribe these controlled medications in Kansas in qualifying patients, and certain monitoring must take place on an ongoing basis, with at least monthly visits.
In addition, there are the practical considerations of wanting a physician knowledgeable and ethical in the area of bariatric medicine (the field of weight management). The following are suggestions we offer and the standards that Dr. Tague maintains in his programs:
- Select a physician who is a bariatric physician and knowledgeable in the comprehensive approach to obesity, including medication therapy and various nutritional treatments.
- Select a physician who is going to give you an appropriate physical exam, perform a complete medical history, and ascertain whether you are or are not a good candidate for medication therapy or intense nutritional therapies.
- If you are a good candidate for treatment, an EKG and appropriate laboratory testing should be done in accordance with the Standards of Bariatric Practice.
- Interview the physician or a staff member, and if they are not willing to discuss their qualifications to treat your weight you may wish to select another physician.
- There are indications and contraindications (reasons to prescribe and not to prescribe) for any medication, including appetite suppressants. If a physician is willing to write you a prescription for a weight loss treatment without a thorough history and exam you may wish to consult another physician. Furthermore, select a physician who is fully authorized to prescribe the weight control medications, if they are needed, by the State Board of Healing Arts and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
- Select a physician who is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, attends their conferences, and regularly receives up to date information in the field of bariatrics.
- Select a physician who is board certified by the American Board of Bariatric Medicine. This is the credentialing organization for physicians specializing in medical weight management.
- Finally, very importantly, select a physician with as much experience as possible in this field.
– Ask your physician how many patients he/she treats regularly for obesity. (The Center for Nutrition has treated thousands of patients for overweight conditions in the past 17 years.)
– How many years have they been in this area of medicine? (Dr. Tague started in the field in 1993.) Then ask for statistics on that physician’s weight loss patients. How much are they losing, and are they being successful for 1-2 years or longer? Experience is truly a great teacher. Don’t be hesitant to ask these tough questions!
Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H. & T.M. is board certified by the American Board of Bariatric Medicine and American Board of Family Practice. He is a graduate of Tulane School of Medicine with degrees in Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Tague is also a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.