Risk and Benefit Profiles of Weight-Loss Medications


Jennifer L. Costello, PharmD, BCPS, BC-ADM, ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, provides an overview of the risk and benefit profiles of new and old weight-loss medications.

For liraglutide, patients should be aware that they might experience gastrointestinal (GI) upset because that is one of the intended functions of the medication, according to Dr. Costello. Pharmacists can explain to patients that GI upset should not stop them from taking the medication, and also explain that they should expect the liraglutide dosage to increase over time.

Pharmacists should make sure that patients taking pain medications do not take naltrexone/bupropion, an opioid antagonist, because the effect of a patient’s pain medication would be negated. The treatment also carries black box warnings for suicide ideation.

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