Mechanisms of Action for New Weight-Loss Agents


Jennifer L. Costello, PharmD, BCPS, BC-ADM, ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, reviews the pharmacologic mechanisms in the new weight-loss drugs.

Liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, helps improve insulin secretion and reduce glucagon release. The drug dramatically affects patient satiation, so they eat less, Dr. Costello notes. It also causes some gastrointestinal upset, which can make some patients eat less.

Meanwhile, the naltrexone/bupropion combination affects central nervous system synapses by augmenting or modulating the craving zone—causing patients to have fewer food cravings.

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