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Found Weight Loss Medication and Coaching: A Dietitian’s Expert Review

Written by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Published on August 23, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

1.8

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:1.0
  • Ingredient Safety:2.0
  • Value for the Price:2.0
  • Brand Transparency:2.0

Found is an FDA-approved weight loss membership program claimed to produce faster, lasting weight loss. I would not recommend this program due to a concerning lack of transparency regarding the medications being used.

Found Weight Loss Medication and Coaching: A Dietitian’s Expert Review

Pros

  • 30-Day money-back guarantee
  • FDA-approved weight loss medication
  • Promotes sustainable weight loss

Cons

  • Lack of transparency on ingredients and program details
  • Lack of research to back up claims
  • No registered dietitians on staff
  • Health screening is not very thorough

What Is Found and How It Works

Found is a relatively new weight loss program that combines FDA-approved prescription weight loss medications and a health coaching program.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that FDA-approved does not necessarily mean it is risk-free.

As I perused the entire website, I quickly noticed a lack of transparency on the prescription medication ingredients that may be included in the program.

I also did not find any details on what would be included as part of the coaching program.

For example, it lists access to a health coach, but it does not clearly specify if you will receive any specific meal plans, exercise plans, or resources.

Found is said to promote lasting weight loss and health by taking multiple factors into account: genetics, hormones, metabolism, and gut health.

As a registered dietitian, I appreciate that this program highlights the role that all of these factors can play in a healthy weight and metabolism. If you don’t focus on the whole picture, lasting weight loss is difficult to achieve.

There are 5 core pillars addressed as part of the Found Program Membership:

  • Mindful eating
  • Nutrition
  • Movement
  • Stress
  • Sleep

The specific plan and prescription formulation may vary depending on the person.

You start by completing a brief survey on their website that asks questions about your demographics, genes, and medical history, what you’ve tried in the past to lose weight, and your overall goals.

I agree that a quiz is essential as a screening tool, but I did not find Found’s quiz to be very thorough.

For example, it didn’t ask about blood work, which is important to know if you have any deficiencies or medical problems that would impact your plan.

Based on your quiz answers, a specific plan is recommended for you. There are 2 core “paths” for a plan.

RX Path:

  • Initial medical consultation and future consultations
  • Prescription medication for weight loss
  • Personalized nutrition and movement path
  • Personal health coach
  • Access to an exclusive community

Wellness Path:

  • Personalized nutrition and movement path
  • Personal health coach
  • Access to an exclusive community

The Wellness path does not include prescription medications or access to medical providers. You would be assigned this plan if you did not qualify for weight loss medication.

With both plans, a health coach helps create a diet and exercise plan for you and checks in with you weekly via text to keep you moving towards your goals.

I took the Found quiz myself, and within 5 minutes, I had a wellness plan emailed to me with a cost of $49 per month.

Based on the timeline on the website, most people can expect to follow the program for at least 6 months.

The claims are that the average Found member loses 10% of their body weight within the first 6 months.

While this rate of weight loss is considered ideal, there is no data shared to show that the Found program actually produces these results.

There are multiple medical advisors and coaches on staff; however, there are no credentialed registered dietitians.

Most health coaching certifications are not held to the same standard of training and expertise as a registered dietitian certification, so it is unclear what their background would be.

Evaluation of Weight Loss Medication

The RX Path of the Found program includes an FDA-approved weight loss medication.

However, I couldn’t find any of the possible ingredients listed on the brand’s website.

This is very concerning because if you sign up for this program, you are essentially in the dark about what you’ll actually be taking.

Because of this, I am going to list the most common FDA-approved weight loss pills that may be similar to what is prescribed to Found members:

Orlistat, 120mg

Orlistat, otherwise known as Xenical, is approved by the FDA for use in those ages 12 and older. It is the prescription version of the popular weight loss drug Alli.

It is said to work in the gut by reducing the amount of fat that your body absorbs from food.

A 2005 randomized controlled trial was conducted on Orlistat that assessed body weight and body composition in adolescents.

Those taking 120 mg of Orlistat 3 times per day for 1 year saw greater weight loss and body composition changes.

In another 2011 study, adults taking Orlistat experienced a greater reduction in weight and waist circumference than the placebo group.

Summary:

Orlistat does hold promise for producing more weight loss than diet and exercise alone; however, it may come with unpleasant side effects.

Qsymia (Phentermine and Topiramate)

Qsymia contains a combination of 2 medications – phentermine and topiramate. It is available in 4 different dosage strengths.

Phentermine is said to decrease appetite, while topiramate is often used to treat seizures or migraines.

It is approved by the FDA for short-term use and is said to reduce hunger and help you to feel full sooner.

It is known as an anorexigenic agent, as it can reduce the desire to eat. One 2013 study found that those taking Qsymia sustained their weight loss after 2 years.

Summary:

While Qsymia may be effective in some people, it can pose risks to certain populations and should be used with caution.

Contrave

Contrave is another FDA-approved weight loss medication. The claims are that Contrave can help you lose weight and keep it off by reducing hunger and cravings.

It is said to do this by acting on 2 areas of your brain: the hunger center and the reward system.

Contrave contains 2 main ingredients – Naltrexone (8 mg) and Bupropion (90 mg). While both of these ingredients are FDA-approved for other conditions, neither is approved for treating obesity.

One small 24-week study showed those taking Contrave lost an additional 5% of their body weight compared to the placebo group.

However, this study was partially funded by a pharmaceutical company, which adds an element of bias.

Summary:

While some people seem to lose weight on Contrave, the results are not statistically significant enough at this time.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Found based on the available research:

  • Lose 2–4x more weightNo Evidence
  • Lose weight 3x fasterNo Evidence
  • See lasting resultsNo Evidence

There is a lack of information on the weight loss medication, and no data is shared on the Found program and its results. Therefore, at this time, it is impossible to assess if any of the claims are true.

The Found program is claimed to promote healthy, sustainable habits. However, it is unclear the extent of coaching support provided and the long-term effectiveness of the program.

More information is needed on the medication and the program itself to determine the benefits of Found.

Side Effects and Safety

Due to the lack of transparency on the weight loss medication ingredients prescribed, I cannot identify specific safety concerns.

My biggest concern is this lack of information on the ingredients, and therefore, there may be unknown risks with this program.

Regarding common ingredients often found in the 3 FDA-approved weight loss pills, there are a few potential side effects to make a note of.

Orlistat’s listed side effects include oily stools, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fecal incontinence.

Since Orlistat works to prevent fat from being absorbed in the body, it can also decrease the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and lead to a deficiency.

Serious side effects from Orlistat have also been reported, such as gallstones, cholestatic hepatitis, subacute liver failure, or acute kidney injury.

Another concern is Orlistat’s potential to interfere with the absorption of other prescription medications, including warfarin and amiodarone.

Qsymia’s listed side effects are concerning, especially with certain populations. It can cause birth defects and is not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

It can also cause an increased heart rate and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Therefore it is especially risky in those with a history of mental health disorders.

It can interact with certain pills such as water pills, seizure medications, or antipsychotics.

Lastly, Contrave has a long list of potential side effects. In addition, it has a black box warning due to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, especially in those under 24 years old.

Potential adverse effects of Contrave ingredients according to a 24-week long, placebo-controlled study include:

  • Upper respiratory complaints
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Other respiratory complaints
  • Headaches
  • Myalgias
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Dermatologic complaints

Unfortunately, I cannot provide a definitive safety rating due to a lack of transparency on the dosage or ingredients present in the Found weight loss medication.

Regarding the coaching program itself, I do like that the program focuses on long-term, sustainable changes rather than a restrictive diet.

Because it promotes balance in the coaching program, that part of the program appears to be safe.

However, I would want to know more about what exactly encompasses this part of the program to make a firm decision.

Cost

The Found program is advertised as being affordable and accessible to all. Based on the website, the cost starts at a minimum of $24.75 per week.

It is unclear what would affect the pricing and what the upper range would be.

However, I would assume that the minimum cost of $24.75 per week would not include the medication but just the coaching program portion.

But again, there is a lack of transparency on this on the website.

How Found Compares to Alternatives

There are other similar weight loss programs, but very few prescribe medications like Found.

The program that is most similar to Found is called Calibrate. Like Found, Calibrate also prescribes an FDA-approved weight loss medication, access to coaching, and accountability.

The cost of Calibrate starts higher than Found at $129 per month. This price includes a medical and metabolic assessment, access to a medical doctor, and personalized coaching.

It also includes a welcome kit containing a smart scale, a blood pressure cuff, and an interactive app for motivation and support.

However, this price does not include prescription medication.

Compared to Found, Calibrate is more transparent on their website on what they are providing. For example, they list exactly what the coaching program entails, so customers know what they get with their purchase.

Regarding Calibrate’s medication, they say that they prescribe GLP-1’s, or glucagon-like peptides, as they are shown to be safe and effective.

Calibrate provides a little more info to the customer than Found since at least they share the type of medication they prescribe.

With both programs, there is a lack of transparency of the cost of the medications as well. If not covered by insurance, the cost can be very expensive.

Other popular online weight loss programs include Noom and WW (former Weight Watchers), but these programs do not prescribe medications.

This may be a good thing, as you don’t always know what you are getting with medications, and these programs are significantly more affordable.

If I were to recommend a weight loss program to my clients, I would recommend Noom as it is a comprehensive, holistic approach to weight loss that has several research studies to back it up.

If a weight loss medication were needed in addition, I would recommend consulting with your own medical doctor, not an online doctor that doesn’t know your history.

Frequently Asked Questions About Found

  • What is Found?

    Found is an FDA-approved weight loss membership program claimed to produce faster, lasting weight loss. It includes a coaching and accountability program and a prescription weight loss medication delivered to your door for those who qualify.

  • Who is Found for?

    The Found program is for someone looking to lose weight in a more healthy, sustainable way. It is also intended for someone who may be trying to lose weight but is struggling to lose through diet alone.

  • Is Found safe?

    It is unclear if the Found program is safe for the general population. There is a lack of transparency on the details of the coaching program, what type of diet is recommended, and what type of medication is prescribed.

  • Does Found work?

    The manufacturer claims the program is safe and effective. However, there are no research studies or data shared to back this up.

  • What is the cost of Found?

    The cost of a Found membership starts at $24.95 per week. It is unclear what this includes and what the upper end of the range would be.

The Bottom Line

Found does have some good features in that it promotes long-term, sustainable weight loss.

It may be tempting to try a program that is promoted as being FDA-approved and safe and effective.

However, Found does not provide any data to back up their claims, and it is completely unknown what medication you are being prescribed for losing weight.

Many traditional weight loss medications come with side effects, even ones that are FDA-approved. But, unfortunately, FDA-approved is not a guarantee of safety, especially when you don’t even know what you’re getting.

Instead of signing up for Found, I would consult with your doctor first to see the best plan for you.

A Word from Our RD

If you are struggling with your weight, there are safe solutions out there.

Unfortunately, a program like Found is not transparent enough for you to know what you’re getting from your purchase, and so instead, I would suggest starting with a discussion with your doctor.

A balanced diet consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains will support a healthy weight.

Additionally, regular exercise that you enjoy, proper sleep, and stress management are all important factors for your weight and overall health.

Work with your primary care doctor and ask them to refer you to a registered dietitian to help you in your weight loss journey and guide you on the best diet.

A registered dietitian is a credentialed healthcare provider who has the expertise and knowledge to lead you on the right path.

If medications are needed, consult with your medical doctor, who can recommend the safest option and monitor you along your journey.

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