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Am J Manag Care. 2001 Sep;7(9):875-83.

Effect of moderate weight loss on health-related quality of life: an analysis of combined data from 4 randomized trials of sibutramine vs placebo.

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  • 1Departments of Community and Family Medicine, Center for Clinical Health Policy Research, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.



To determine whether (1) patients who experience greater weight loss also experience correspondingly greater improvements in health-related quality of life (HRQOL); (2) the improvement in HRQOL is noticeable for patients achieving moderate (5%-10%) weight reduction; and (3) the relationship between weight reduction and HRQOL is similar for patients receiving sibutramine hydrochloride vs placebo.


We combined data from 4 double-blind, randomized, controlled trials of administration of sibutramine (20 mg/d) vs placebo.


Patients (n = 555) were mildly to moderately obese and had type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, or hypertension that was well controlled with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or calcium channel blocker. The HRQOL was operationalized using the Impact of Weight on Quality of Life (IWQOL) and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Question Short-Form (SF-36) instruments. The main statistical technique was a patient-level analysis of variance predicting change in HRQOL from study, treatment, and weight change.


Moderate weight loss was associated with a statistically significant improvement in HRQOL for approximately half of the subscales evaluated (P < .05). The greatest sensitivity to change was shown by the SF-36 general health perception and change in health since last year subscales and the IWQOL overall health, mobility, and total subscales. Greater weight loss was associated with the most improvement in HRQOL. Weight losses of 5.01% to 10.00% were associated with 2-unit changes in the SF-36 general health perception subscale and 10-unit changes in the IWQOL total subscale. Results were similar across study and treatment.


Moderate weight loss is associated with noticeably improved HRQOL. Improvements in HRQOL are achievable by patients receiving sibutramine.

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