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Minerva Endocrinologica 2020 June;45(2):127-37

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1977.20.03179-X

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

New-generation anti-obesity drugs: naltrexone/bupropion and liraglutide. An update for endocrinologists and nutritionists

Luigi BARREA 1, 2, Gabriella PUGLIESE 1, 2 , Giovanna MUSCOGIURI 1, 2, Daniela LAUDISIO 1, 2, Annamaria COLAO 1, 2, 3, Silvia SAVASTANO 1, 2

1 Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University, Medical School of Naples, Naples, Italy; 2 Centro Italiano per la Cura e Benessere del Paziente con Obesità (C.I.B.O.), Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University, Medical School of Naples, Naples, Italy; 3 Cattedra UNESCO “Educazione alle Salute e allo Sviluppo Sostenibile”, Federico II University, Naples, Italy



The prevalence of obesity increases worldwide and has a significant economic impact on health care systems. A comprehensive program of lifestyle modification, including diet, exercise, and behavior therapy is considered the first option for achieving the significant weight loss. However, the intrinsic difficulties associated with maintenance of lifestyle changes contribute to the unsatisfactory long-term outcomes reported and weight regain in the obesity management. In this context, pharmacological approaches are useful to maximize non-pharmacological interventions in the long-term management of obesity. As add-on to lifestyle modification, pharmacological interventions are useful to facilitate clinically weight loss. In the past, anti-obesity drugs were limited. To date, the landscape has changed and naltrexone/bupropion and liraglutide have been recently added as new-generation anti-obesity drugs on obesity treatment and could represent important tools to manage of obesity. Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that shares 97% homology to native GLP-1 with effects on the limbic system. The treatment with liraglutide 3.0 mg, in combination with a hypocaloric diet and increased physical activity, provides a clinically meaningful weight loss. The combination of naltrexone 32 mg and bupropion 360 mg acts on the mesolimbic reward pathway and the hypothalamic hunger system, two areas of the central nervous system. The combination of naltrexone/bupropion, an adjunct to a hypocaloric diet and increased physical activity, is approved for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight and ≥1 weight-related comorbidity. In the present review, we have focused on the current evidence on two new-generation anti-obesity drugs, naltrexone/bupropion and liraglutide 3.0 mg addressing the main studies that investigated these two new drugs for obesity treatment. Furthermore, evidence on semaglutide, currently in the pipeline for potential future therapeutic use for weight loss, are reported.


KEY WORDS: Obesity; Anti-obesity agents; Naltrexone; Bupropion; Bupropion hydrochloride, naltrexone hydrochloride drug combination; Liraglutide

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