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J Obes. 2011;2011:686521. doi: 10.1155/2011/686521. Epub 2010 Nov 21.

Canadian Physicians' Use of Antiobesity Drugs and Their Referral Patterns to Weight Management Programs or Providers: The SOCCER Study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2V2.


Antiobesity pharmacotherapy and programs/providers that possess weight management expertise are not commonly used by physicians. The underlying reasons for this are not known. We performed a cross-sectional study in 33 Canadian medical practices (36 physicians) examining 1788 overweight/obese adult patients. The frequency of pharmacotherapy use and referral for further diet, exercise, behavioral management and/or bariatric surgery was documented. If drug treatment or referral was not made, reasons were documented by choosing amongst preselected categories. Logistic regression models were used to identify predictors of antiobesity drug use. No single antiobesity management strategy was recommended by physicians in more than 50% of patients. Referral was most common for exercise (49% of cases) followed by dietary advice (46%), and only 5% of eligible patients were referred for bariatric surgery. Significant predictors of initiating/continuing pharmacotherapy were male sex (OR 0.70; 95% CI 0.52-0.94), increasing BMI (1.02; 95% CI 1.01-1.03), and private drug coverage (1.78; 95% CI 1.39-2.29). "Not considered" and "patient refusal" were the main reasons for not initiating further weight management. We conclude that both physician and patient factors act as barriers to the use of weight management strategies and both need to be addressed to increase uptake of these interventions.

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