Increased Weight Loss with Medications in Obese, Overweight Patients

FDA-approved weight loss drugs seen to aid weight loss by at least 5%.

A recent study evaluated how effective different weight loss medications were in overweight or obese adult patients.

Researchers included orlistat, lorcaserin, naltrexone-bupropion, phentermine-topiramate, and liraglutide in the study, which are the only FDA-approved weight loss drugs for long-term use for obese or overweight patients, according to the study published in JAMA.

Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials using a weight loss drug, which included 29,018 patients.

Data revealed that approximately 23% of patients administered a placebo had at least 5% weight loss compared with 75% of patients taking phentermine-topiramate. Approximately 63% of patients taking liraglutide, 55% taking naltrexone-bupropion, 49% taking lorcaserin, and 44% taking orlistat achieved at least 5% weight loss.

The researchers also found that at 1 year, all 5 drugs aided weight loss significantly compared with placebo. The drugs liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion were the most likely to cause discontinuation due to adverse events.

"Ultimately, given the differences in safety, efficacy, and response to therapy, the ideal approach to weight loss should be highly individualized, identifying appropriate candidates for pharmacotherapy, behavioral interventions, and surgical interventions,” the authors concluded. “Historically, concerns regarding the long-term safety profile of pharmacotherapy for weight loss have limited their clinical use, particularly among medications with significant adrenergic actions or central appetite-suppressing actions. Short-term clinical trials may not provide comprehensive information on the long-term safety of these agents, and prospective postmarketing surveillance studies are warranted.”