Home > Journals > Minerva Endocrinology > Past Issues > Minerva Endocrinologica 2018 September;43(3) > Minerva Endocrinologica 2018 September;43(3):356-66

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Minerva Endocrinologica 2018 September;43(3):356-66

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1977.17.02654-2

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Pharmacological management of obesity

Amanda VELAZQUEZ, Caroline M. APOVIAN

Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Nutrition and Weight Management, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA


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Current management of obesity includes three main arms: behavioral modification, pharmacologic therapy, and bariatric surgery. Decades prior, the only pharmacological agents available to treat obesity were approved only for short-term use (≤12 weeks) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, in the last several years, the FDA has approved several medications for longer term treatment of obesity. This highlights the important progression that we, as a society, better appreciate now the chronicity and complexity of obesity as a disease. Also, availability of more medication options gives healthcare providers more possibilities to consider in the management of obesity. Medications for obesity can be simply categorized as FDA approved short-term use (diethylproprion, phendimetrazine, benzphetamine, and phentermine) and long-term use (orlistat, phentermine/topiramate ER, lorcaserin, naltrexone/bupropion ER and liraglutide). Additionally, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is commonly seen in patients with obesity and necessitates consideration of pharmacological options that do not hinder patients’ weight loss. Finally, weight-centric prescribing is also an important component to pharmacological management of obesity. It warrants that healthcare providers thoroughly review their patients’ medication lists to determine if any of these agents could be contributing to weight gain.


KEY WORDS: Obesity - Overweight - Obesity, morbid - Weight loss - Drug therapy

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