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Endocrine. 2013 Dec;44(3):598-609. doi: 10.1007/s12020-013-9983-1. Epub 2013 May 16.

The unrelenting fall of the pharmacological treatment of obesity.

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Endocrinology Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, and Center for Applied Biomedical Sciences, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University Alma Mater Studiorum, Via Massarenti 9, 40138, Bologna, Italy.


Nowadays pharmacological therapy to limit obesity has reached a critical stage: not only have Authorities limited the use of antiobesity drugs due to their proven inefficacy and dangerous side effects, but bariatric surgery has delivered better results. At present, when the number of obese subjects is growing exponentially worldwide and more and more pathological mechanisms inducing fat accumulation have been discovered, no drugs are available to help patients and physicians to limit one the most dreadful causes of death. Following the failures of promising drugs as sibutramine and rimonabant, many companies stopped to invest in the field of obesity pharmacotherapy. At the same time, leading Authorities have started to require more solid evidence before providing authorization for these drugs to enter the market. This review aims at revising the failed promises of antiobesity drugs and describing the few potential future candidates in order to shed some light in the still uncertain field of antiobesity drugs. It also provides a critical contribution to the ongoing debate among scientists, clinicians, patients and Authorities on the possibility to treat obesity with pharmacological drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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